In 2010, Rawat was bestowed with the Prime Minister’s Award during his tenure as the principal secretary (SC/ST Welfare Department) in Madhya Pradesh, for excellence in Public Administration for the group initiative “Recognition of Forest Rights.”
As the tenure of incumbent chief election commissioner (CEC) Achal Kumar Jyoti comes to an end, Om Prakash Rawat has been selected by the Union Law Ministry to fill in the top post on Sunday.
Along with Rawat, Ashok Lavasa and Sunil Arora have been appointed as fellow commissioners in the three-member Election Commission.
The former Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer will be assuming office on January 23 and essay the post of the 22nd CEC until December, after which Arora, who is the senior most after the CEC, will take over as the head of the poll panel as per convention.
Here is everything you need to know about the new chief election commissioner:
1. Born on December 2, 1953, Rawat pursued his masters in Physics from Banaras Hindu University, following which he did his MSc in Social Development Planning from the United Kingdom in 1989. Rawat belongs to the 1977 cadre of IAS officers.
2. As a government official, Rawat has essayed many prominent roles. After serving as Collector in Narsinghpur and Indore between 1983 and 1988, he served as a director in the defense ministry in 1993 before being deputed as a United Nations election observer in South Africa to supervise the first post-apartheid elections in May 1994.
3. After his return from Africa, he was appointed to different profiles like that of Commissioner (Women & Child Development), Registrar (Co-operative Societies), Secretary (Cooperation), Secretary (Agriculture) and State Excise Commissioner in Madhya Pradesh.
4. Besides serving as the principal secretary to Babu Lal Gaur, who was the then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh between 2004 and 2006, Rawat also assumed the positions of Additional Chief Secretary, Narmada Valley Development Department and as Vice-Chairman, Narmada Valley Development Authority.
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5. In 2010, Rawat was bestowed with the Prime Minister’s Award during his tenure as the principal secretary (SC/ST Welfare Department) in Madhya Pradesh, for excellence in Public Administration for the group initiative “Recognition of Forest Rights.”
6. After retiring as a Secretary at Department of Public Enterprises in the Ministry of Heavy Industries in 2013, Rawat took over as one of the Election Commissioner, a role that he had been essaying since August 14, 2015.
7. During this period, he had overseen general assembly elections in fourteen Indian states, including Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Puducherry, and Assam, amidst others.
8. Though a CEC has a serving period of six years, 64-year-old Rawat would only hold the office until December as the tenure expires as an incumbent commissioner turns 65.