New Delhi: Sushil Chandra has assumed charge as the 24th Chief Election Commissioner of India on Tuesday. With his new assignment, Chandra has replaced Sunil Arora, who demitted the office on April 12 after completing his tenure. Chandra has been serving in the Commission as Election Commissioner since February 15, 2019. He is also a Member of the Delimitation Commission since February 18, 2020, looking after the Delimitation of Jammu and Kashmir UT.
Having held several posts in the Income-Tax Department for nearly 39 years, Chandra had also been CBDT Chairman from November 1, 2016, to February 14, 2019.
Since his tenure as Chairman of CBDT itself, Chandra has played an active role in unearthing illegal money often used during Assembly Elections. With his continuous monitoring, the seizure of cash, liquor, freebies, narcotics have increased substantially in recent elections. He has constantly emphasised the concept of ‘Inducement-Free’ elections and it has become an important aspect of monitoring the electoral process in all ongoing and forthcoming elections. The process of focused and comprehensive monitoring through the deployment of Special Expenditure Observers, activating the role of many more enforcement agencies in the process of Election Expenditure monitoring, more exhaustive and frequent reviews of observers and other agencies are few of the aspects of electoral management encouraged by him. His contributions are also reflective in systemic changes like Form 26 which has now become an integral part of essential paperwork.
1. Bureaucratic appointments: Tarun Bajaj appointed Revenue Secretary, Ali Raza Rizvi is new DPE Secretary
Chandra, as Chairman CBDT, took special efforts in the area of verification of affidavits filed by the candidates before elections. In 2018, Chandra was instrumental in evolving a uniform format of sharing details of all assets and liabilities not mentioned in the affidavits of the candidates. Facilitation through innovative IT applications in election systems have been a unique contribution of Chandra to the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections and the Legislative Assembly Elections held in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Delhi.
Holding of elections to State Assemblies of Bihar, Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal amidst COVID concerns and making processes such as nomination and filing of papers online, extending the option of postal ballot to the specific categories of senior citizens, Persons with Disabilities, essential services personnel as also Covid patients/suspects, has seen Chandra lead from the front.
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