Rajiv Kumar is a retired Indian Administrative Services officer and is the 25th Chief Election Commissioner, who will be overseeing the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. Before being appointed as a Chief Election Commissioner, Rajiv Kumar served as an Election Commissioner. He is accredited with formulating economic policies that have positively impacted the nation.
Rajiv Kumar was born on Friday, 19 February 1960 (age 62 years; as of 2022) in Uttar Pradesh, India. After completing his schooling in Uttar Pradesh, Rajiv Kumar graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) degree. Rajiv then pursued and completed his LLB degree from Delhi University. Rajiv has also completed his Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) from IGNOU. He, later on, completed his MA in Public Policy and Sustainability from the TERI School Of Advanced Studies. After completing his LLB, in 1982, Rajiv cleared his UPSC examination and went on to join the prestigious Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy Of Administration (LBSNAA).
Rajiv Kumar belongs to a family from Uttar Pradesh.
Parents & Siblings
Not much information is available about his parents’ names or professions.
Wife & Children
Not much information is available about his wife’s name or profession.
He has two daughters.
An illustrious career as a Civil Servant
1986 to 1991
After completing his training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy Of Administration, Rajiv Kumar, from 1986 to 1988, served in the Land Revenue Management and District Administration Department as a Sub Divisional Officer (SDO). In the same department, Rajiv Kumar, in 1988, was promoted to the rank of an Additional District Magistrate (ADM), a rank which he held till 1989. In 1989, in the same department, Rajiv was again promoted to the rank of Deputy Development Commissioner (DDC). He continued to serve in the same department till 1991.
1991 to 1993
Rajiv Kumar served with the Central government’s Ministry of Environment and Forests. In the ministry, Rajiv was posted as an Under Secretary, in the Department of National Mission on Wasteland Development.
1993 to 1996
As a Deputy Commissioner (DC), posted at Ranchi, Rajiv Kumar served in the Department of Land Revenue Management and District Administration.
1996 to 1999
Upon being promoted to the rank of Deputy Secretary, Rajiv Kumar served as the Managing Director of Industries. In 1997, Rajiv was promoted to the rank of Director, after which he continued to serve in the same department till 1999.
1999 to 2000
Rajiv Kumar, as a Director served in the Personnel and General Administration Department. In the department, he was given an appointment as a Special Secretary. In 2000, Rajiv went on to serve as the Director of the Ministry of Primary Education.
2000 to 2001
Rajiv Kumar served as the Director of the Industrial Department.
2001 to 2006
Rajiv Kumar, in 2001, was posted as a Director in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, where he served under the Department of SC/ST Welfare and Social Justice and Empowerment. From 2005 to 2006, Rajiv served as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Rajiv is also accredited with introducing the Scheduled Tribes (Reorganisation of Forests Rights) Bill, of 2005 and Special Central Assistance to States and Grants under Article 275(1) of the Indian Constitution. The bill improved the unhindered flow of funds from the Central and State governments, for the overall development of Scheduled and TSP areas.
2006 to 2008
While Rajiv Kumar was serving as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, he was sent abroad for a special training mission.
2008 to 2012
Rajiv served as an Additional Resident Commissioner at the Jharkhand Bhavan in New Delhi from 2008 to 2009. There he looked after the functioning of the Personnel and General Administration Department. In 2009, Rajiv was promoted to the rank of Additional Secretary and then, served as a Resident Commissioner at Jharkhand Bhavan till 2012.
2012 to 2015
Rajiv Kumar served with the Department of Expenditure, as a Joint Secretary, under the Ministry of Finance.
2015 to 2017
In 2015, Rajiv Kumar was promoted to the rank of Additional Secretary. After being promoted, he served as the Establishment Officer and Additional Secretary, in the Department of Personnel and Training under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. In 2017, in the same department, under the same Ministry, Rajiv was promoted to the rank of Special Secretary.
2017 to 2020
Rajiv served in the Department of Financial Services as a Secretary. The department came under the Ministry of Finance.
As a Finance Secretary, Rajiv Kumar introduced many amendments to the Banking, Insurance and Pension Schemes. The amendments were based upon the ‘4 Rs’, that is, Recognition, Recapitalization, Resolution and Reform. In 2019, Rajiv introduced the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019; which prohibited the banks from forcefully depositing huge amounts of money from poor bank account holders. In addition to it; to strengthen the regulatory control of RBI over Multi-State Cooperative Banks, Rajiv introduced the Banking Regulation Act. This act aimed at curbing the illegal and fraudulent practices being undertaken by the banks.
Before retiring, Rajiv was made the Chairman of the Department of Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
Being a part of renowned institutions
Rajiv Kumar has served as a member as well as a Director of several renowned institutions in India. Rajiv has been the Director of the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), State Bank of India, and NABARD. He has also been an esteemed member of the Economic Intelligence Council (EIC), Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC), Bank Board Bureau (BBB), Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee (FSRASC) and the Civil services Board.
Serving as the Election Commissioner of India
In 2021, Rajiv Kumar was appointed as the Election Commissioner of India. As an Election Commissioner, Rajiv is known to have taken a tough stand against the wrongdoers.
In 2021, he objected to the plea filed by the Election Commission of India, in the Madras High Court. The plea demanded the court to debar any media outlet from reporting the oral observations of the Election Commission’s Poll Panel. He also took a stand against the EC for not penalising the political parties, for flouting the given COVID 19 campaigning rules. In an interview, Rajiv Kumar said,
The poll panel should be put up on murder charges probably, for failing to make all the campaigning, political parties to adhere and follow the Covid 19 norms during the Assembly polls in several states. The Election Commission needs to be absolved of all the doubts casted on it, so as to save the Indian democracy, lest everyone else start making insinuations and allegations in much more magnified, exponentially derogatory terms.”
- Rajiv, as a Residential Commissioner, played a pivotal role in 2011 in the release of a JNU student, after she was illegally detained by Ranchi police for marrying outside her caste. Rajiv, to stop the protests in JNU, interacted directly with the students and personally called and asked the DGP of Jharkhand Police to release the girl arrested by the police.
- The incident of a Residential Commissioner talking directly with the students came as a surprise to everyone, as a Residential Commissioner rarely interacted with the students.
- Rajiv Kumar is also accredited with the formulation and implementation of several successful national policies such as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and the Mudra loan scheme.
- Rajiv Kumar was appointed as the head of the Transparent Personnel Management, which was responsible for upgrading NITI Aayog’s overall capabilities and functioning.
- Rajiv Kumar has a passion for trekking. He has crossed several well-known Himalayan passes such as Ladakh, Himachal, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Tibet. He has also covered the passes in Sahyadri, Western Ghats and Palghat.
- In his leisure time, Rajiv Kumar likes listening to old Indian classical songs as well as devotional songs. He also likes practising meditation.
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