Multilateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday said it has appointed Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa as vice-president for private sector operations and public-private partnerships.
"He is currently one of the Election Commissioners of India and previously served in a range of senior posts including as Union Finance Secretary of India; Union Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change; and Union Secretary for the Ministry of Civil Aviation," ADB said in a statement.
Lavasa will succeed Diwakar Gupta, whose term will end on August 31.
He has extensive experience in public-private partnerships and infrastructure development at the state and federal levels, with deep knowledge on public policy and the role of private sector, it said.
The former Finance Secretary was appointed Election Commissioner in January 2018.
The agency further said that Lavasa led the Indian delegation in the climate change negotiations for the Paris Agreement and was instrumental in finalising India's nationally determined contributions, which included a major role of the private sector.
Ashok Lavasa was next in the line to head the poll panel. The surprise announcement was made by the regional development bank on Wednesday.
He would be only the second election commissioner to step down from the Election panel before completion of his term. The last time an election commissioner resigned was in 1973 when chief election commissioner Nagendra Singh was appointed a judge in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
A retired IAS officer, Lavasa was appointed as election commissioner in January 2018. He would be in line to be appointed as the chief election commissioner when Sunil Arora completes his term if the government sticks to the tradition of appointing the senior-most commissioner to the top post. There is, however, no rule that requires the President to stick to this convention, reported Hindustan Times
Lavasa did not agree with the Election Commission of India’s decisions to clear Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then BJP president Amit Shah of charges of violating Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during the 2019 general elections.
The dispute within the three-member commission had come into the open after reports emerged that Lavasa recused himself from meetings to discuss MCC issues unless his dissent was recorded.
"At both policy and project levels, he made significant contributions to the inclusion of the private sector in many development programs in India for different sectors such as energy, agriculture, finance, and infrastructure. As Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, he worked closely with many ADB projects that had private sector components," it said.
Lavasa has an MBA degree from Southern Cross University in Australia, and MPhil in Defense and Strategic Studies degree from the University of Madras.
He completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree with English Honors and a Master of Arts in English Literature from Delhi University.
with PTI inputs