Former finance secretary Rajiv Kumar replaces Ashok Lavasa as Election Commissioner

Former finance secretary Rajiv Kumar will replace Ashok Lavasa as Election Commissioner at ECI. His appointment was approved by President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday.
Rajiv Kumar
Rajiv Kumar Finance Secratory

Rajiv Kumar, former finance secretary has been appointed as the Election Commissioner in place of Ashok Lavasa.

A notification was issued by the Legislative Department of the Ministry of Law and Justice on Friday in this regard. The notification said, “President is pleased to appoint Shri Rajiv Kumar as the Election Commissioner with effect from the date he assumes office vice Shri Ashok Lavasa, Election Commissioner who resigned with effect from 31st August 2020.”

Clause (2) of Article 324 of the Constitution empowers the President of India to appoint an Election Commissioner to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Appointed finance secretary in July of last year, Rajiv Kumar is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1984-batch from Jharkhand cadre. He has worked as a bureaucrat for over three decades across various departments and took over as the financial services secretary in September of 2017.

According to reports, Kumar played a key role in implementing the Centre’s plan to consolidate and strengthen public sector banks (PSBs). He also worked closely on the implementation of schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and Mudra loan scheme aimed at financial inclusion.

During his stint in the Finance Ministry, newly-appointed Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar is also known to have contributed greatly to the implementation of the central government’s 59-minute loan scheme for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Upon assuming charge as Election Commissioner, Kumar stares at a challenge in the shape of the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections. These will be the first elections conducted in India amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Earlier on Friday, the EC issued a set of guidelines to be followed for Assembly and Bye elections during Covid-19.

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