Former finance secretary Rajiv Kumar has been appointed as the Election Commissioner following the resignation of Ashok Lavasa. As reported earlier, Lavasa will be joining the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as vice president. He announced his resignation earlier this week and urged the President of India to relieve him before August 31.
“In pursuance of clause (2) of Article 324 of the Constitution, the President is pleased to appoint Shri Rajiv Kumar, (IAS retired) as the election commissioner with effect from the date he assumes the office vice Shri Ashok Lavasa, election commissioner who has resigned with effect August 31,” Law Ministry said in a notification.
Kumar will be joining the team of Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and replace Lavasa, who is slated to leave on August 31. A BSc and LLB degree holder, Kumar has earlier served as finance secretary and has over 30 years of experience in policy-making and administration.
A 1984 batch IAS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, Kumar will take charge after Lavasa quits the office.
Rajiv Kumar has over three decades of experience in public policy and administration across various sectors. He played a major role in merging 10 public sector banks into four. During his two-and-half-year stint as financial services secretary, he took several policy decisions to promote responsive and responsible banking.
Rajiv Kumar known for his bold moves, Mr Kumar undertook a massive 3 lakh crore rupees recapitalisation of banks during his tenure. He also played a key role in taking ahead Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan of financial inclusion, aimed at boosting credit access and job creation, through flagship schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra loan scheme, among others. He is known to have initiated and implemented the 59-minute loan scheme for the MSME sector.
Election Commission issues fresh guidelines in light of COVID-19
Whereas the Indian Election Commission, following the COVID-19 crisis in the country, issued on Friday guidelines for elections and by-elections. In light of the pandemic, the poll body said that the postal ballot system will be extended to some classes of citizens.
“The option of postal ballot facility has been extended to the electors who are marked as ‘persons with disabilities’, people above the age of 80 years, people employed in notified essential services and who are COVID-19 positive/possibly infected,” ECI said in a press note.
The revised guidelines also said that candidates can file nomination online. “People should wear face masks during election-related activities. Thermal scanning of all persons shall be carried out. Sanitiser, soap and water shall be made available at the entry of hall, room, premises used for election purposes. Social distancing shall be maintained as per the extant COVID-19 guidelines of the state government and Ministry of Home Affairs.”