Rajiv Kumar took over as the new chief election commissioner on Sunday, a day after his predecessor Sushil Chandra retired.
Kumar will oversee the upcoming Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Jammu and Kashmir and the 2024 general elections during his tenure.
The Ministry of Law and Justice on May 12 announced that the new chief election commissioner would take over on May 15.
Kumar’s chief election commissioner tenure begins right after the delimitation commission finalized its order for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, recommending seven additional constituencies – six for Jammu and one for Kashmir – and taking the total number of seats in the UT to 90. It also comes at a time when the poll panel’s decisions have met with criticism by mainstream parties in the Valley. It will also pave the way for elections to be held in the Union Territory, which has been without an elected government since 2018.
His tenure as an election commissioner has seen a slew of reforms, including multiple dates for voter registration and the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which called for voluntary linking of Aadhaar numbers with voter cards. During Kumar’s tenure, the commission also began working on the concept of remote voting.
A 1984-batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the Bihar / Jharkhand cadre, Kumar superannuated from the IAS in February 2020. He who took over as an election commissioner on September 1 2020, after helming the Public Enterprises Selection Board for five months since April 2020 .
Born on February, 19, 1960 Kumar acquired a slew of academic degrees including B Sc, LLB, PGDM and MA in Public Policy, and has over 37 years of experience working for the government across ministries at the Center and across the social, environment and forests, human resources, finance and the banking sectors in states.
Kumar has also been director of the central boards of the Reserve Bank of India, SBI and Nabard and a member of the Economic Intelligence Council, Financial Stability and Development Council, Bank Board Bureau, Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee, Civil Services Board, among many other such boards and committees.
Kumar has been credited with conceiving and implementing merger and acquisitions in the financial sector. He also has to his credit the National Pension System was streamlined by enhancing the mandatory contribution by the central government, and providing freedom of choice for selecting pension funds and patterns of investment for and tax reliefs.