Nine in Race for IRDA Top Job Secys of petroleum & IT, GC Chaturvedi & R Chandrasekhar, to be interviewed today

Nine candidates, in fray for the post of chairman of the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority, will appear for a final interview on Thursday.
Among those who made the cut are petroleum secretary GC Chaturvedi, IT secretary R Chandrasekhar, LIC Chairman DK Mehrotra and former LIC boss TS Vijayan. Others include Malik Sonawala, Niranjan Pant, Vipul Desai and Kamalji Sahay. “Each candidate has strong backing in terms of experience and knowledge,” said a government official familiar with the selection process.
Some two score applications were received for the job, which involves oversight of an industry that contributes 4.5% to economic output. Incumbent J Hari Narayan retires in February.
Chaturvedi, a 1977 batch IAS officer, was special director general (finance & accounts) of the organising
committee for the Commonwealth Games before taking over as petroleum secretary. Chandrasekhar is a 1975 batch IAS officer from Andhra cadre. Former LIC Chairman TS Vijayan was demoted to MD from chairman after allegations ofirregularity. “He has got all his clearances… so he may get the backing of finance minister,” the official quoted above said. The resume of Sahay, the CEO of Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance, is strong because of his background in industry. “There has been some opinion that an industry person should be appointed as Irda head so that the regulator can play some developmental role as well. Both DK Mehrotra and Sahay can score on that ground,” the official said. The final selection will made by a committee headed by financial services secretary DK Mittal. The appointment will also happen in the backdrop of the government’s stated intention to allow up to 49% FDI in insurance.
The government is likely to lean towards a candidate who can ensure that Irda does not restrict itself to being a regulator but also plays an active role in the development of the sector.

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