Former Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar Appointed as PESB Chief

According to a Staff Ministry order, the Cabinet Appointments Committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved his appointment as Chairperson of the PESB for a term of three years.

Ex secretary of finance, Rajiv Kumar, chief of PESB, president of Financial Services Department, Ram Nath Kovind.

Known for taking bold decisions, Kumar has brought radical reforms to the banking sector and has played a crucial role in combining 10 public-sector banks into four.

Former Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar was named on Wednesday as Chair of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), the government’s headhunter for top-level roles in public sector firms. Kumar, a Jharkhand cadre 1984 batch IAS officer, retired in February this year as a finance minister.

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According to a Staff Ministry order, the Cabinet Appointments Committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved his appointment as Chairperson of the PESB for a term of three years.

The PESB does top-level training for companies in the central public sector. Kumar will succeed the recently named Kapil Dev Tripathi as the Secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind.

During his stints in the finance ministry and the personnel ministry, Kumar was credited with bringing in crucial changes in banking and bureaucracy. In the most serious recession, he led the banking and financial sector.

Kumar took over as Director, Financial Services Department in September 2017 when most public-sector banks, including India’s State Bank, were in losses. In July 2019 the government appointed him as Secretary of Finance.

Known for taking bold decisions, Kumar has brought radical reforms to the banking sector and has played a crucial role in combining 10 public-sector banks into four.

He also played an important role in brokering peace between the Center and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which culminated in the smooth transfer of Rs 1.76 lakh crore from the central bank’s surplus to the exchequer last year.

Several policy decisions were taken to encourage sensitive and responsible banking during his two-and-a-half-year tenure as Secretary of Financial Services, the officials said. During his tenure, a major recapitalization of banks by Rs 3 lakh crore was undertaken. Kumar had been the Establishment Officer (EO) in the Personnel Ministry before entering the finance ministry.

He played a key role in developing a 360-degree evaluation framework for promoting and empaneling senior bureaucrats during his tenure at the Ministry of Personnel.

Kumar was also instrumental in streamlining the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), they said. Incidentally, when he served as the EO in 2017, Kumar released a compendium of guidelines on board-level appointments in Central Public Sector Enterprises.

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