Another IAS appointed as new Chairman of Airports Authority of India

New Delhi: Sanjeev Kumar (IAS) has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved his appointment to the post on Thursday. With his appointment, Kumar will be the 4th Chairman of India’s national airport regulator in a row from India’s elite bureaucracy, IAS. Currently, AAI's Member (HR) Anuj Aggarwal is holding the additional charge of the post, after Arvind Singh (IAS), who joined the Culture Ministry as Secretary in February this year.

Before Arvind Singh the charge of AAI Chairman was held again by Anuj Aggarwal as Guruprasad Mohapatra, again an IAS, was transferred to the Ministry of Finance. Before Mohapatra, RK Srivastava, a 1984-batch Jharkhand-cadre IAS officer, had been appointed as Airports Authority of India (AAI) chairman for five years in January 2015. Although Srivastava had been removed way before his term ended, in May 2018 only. After his removal, the Chairman's charge was briefly handled by then Member (Planning) Sudhir Raheja.

'The last full-time AAI chairman had then opposed privatisation'

AAI had its last non-IAS full-time Chairman in VP Agarwal, way back from 2009-14. An expert in the field of airport infrastructure development Agarwal had joined AAI as General Manager in 2001 and rose to the rank of Chairman in 2009. Agarwal was given an extension after his term ended in December 2013 by the then UPA-II government but in the night of  January 24, 2014, was removed from his post apparently because of his "opposition" to privatisation of more airports in the country, said an ET report. "Agarwal was resisting the privatisation of six more airports, including Kolkata and Chennai. But the government is in a hurry and wants the process to be completed before going into elections. For this reason, Agarwal had to lose his post", the report mentioned.

After his removal, the Chairman's charge was given to Alok Sinha, an IAS of 1986-batch, who was then a joint secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation. 

The process

Earlier when a Chairman's term used to end, or he/she were removed, the Ministry of Civil Aviation used to ask either an AAI board member or a joint secretary in the ministry to take additional charge of AAI chairmanship till it finds a replacement. The Ministry would then approach Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) to select a candidate to fill the vacant post. The candidate shortlisted by PESB would require ACC’s approval.

Profile of Sanjeev Kumar 

Kumar is a 1993-batch IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre. He is currently posted as Director of Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company. He holds a degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering from IIT Roorkee and M Tech in Communication Engineering from IIT, Kanpur. He also holds a degree in Financial Management from Jamnalal Bajaj Institution of Management Studies of Mumbai University. He possesses wide experience of working in the field of infrastructure and finance in the government of Maharashtra and in the central government. Prior to his current assignment, he has worked in the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation as Joint Secretary & Mission Director for Housing for All project. He was mission director for Prime Minister Aawas Yojna (PMAY) and he designed and launched PMAY in that capacity. He worked as Director in the Ministry of Power, in-charge of Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojna (RGGVY) & Restructured Accelerated Power Development & Reform Program (RAPDRP).

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Kumar has earlier served in various Ministries and departments of the Government of Maharashtra viz. State Sales Tax Department, Water Supply & Sanitation Department and Industries Department. He has served as Joint CEO of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). He has also has been MD of Maharashtra Agro Industries Development Corporation. He also served as District Collector of Gondia and Jalgaon District in Maharashtra and Divisional Commissioner of Nagpur Division in Vidharbha Region of Maharashtra.

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