The name of Revenue Secretary Sumit Bose is doing the rounds for the post of the next Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority chairman.
The term of the last chairman of the pension regulator, Yogesh Agarwal, was cut short by the finance ministry in November.
The government invited applications for the post last month, and officials in the know said Bose, who is likely to be named finance secretary after the retirement of R S Gujral last month, is a strong contender for it.
Bose, a 1976 batch Indian Administrative Service officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre, is retiring in March 2014.
As the selection process would be finalised only by January or February, Bose would be in a position to take up the role, said an official who did not wish to be identified as the government would also consider other names who apply for the post before finalising on the PFRDA chairman.
In the past, Bose has been in the race for key positions, but lost out at the last moment.
He was a contender for the post of finance secretary in 2011, when R Gopalan retired.
However, then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee (now President) called Gujral, who was serving as secretary in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, to head the revenue department.
Being the senior-most among all secretaries on seniority-cum-merit basis, Gujral was named finance secretary.
He was also considered a contender for the Comptroller and Auditor General after Vinod Rai’s tenure came to an end, but it went to Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma.
After serving as chairman of IDBI Bank, Agarwal was appointed PFRDA chairman for five years in June 2010, but resigned one and a half years before the end of his term -- the first for a regulator -- as the government had issues with his style of functioning.
Currently, Anup Wadhawan, joint secretary in the Department of Financial Services, is acting chairman of PFRDA.
Recently, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Takru had said PFRDA would have a new chairman and a fully-functional statutory board in the next two months.
The age limit for a PFRDA chairperson is 65 years and the tenure is five years. In the advertisement for the post, the finance ministry said the pay and allowance of the new chairperson would be Rs 450,000 a month, without accommodation and car.
The last date for applying for the post is December 27.
Bose, an alumnus of Doon School, St Stephen’s College in Delhi and the London School of Economics, has served in key roles such as expenditure secretary; disinvestment secretary; secretary in the 13th Finance Commission, and principal secretary, finance, in Madhya Pradesh.
As joint secretary in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, he was responsible for launching the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
The PFRDA was established by the government in August 2003 to promote old age income security by establishing, developing and regulating pension funds, to protect the interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds.
Recently, it got statutory backing with Parliament passing the PFRDA Bill.
Image: Sumit Bose; Photograph, courtesy: Business Standard