India likely to see first woman chief of financial regulator

Aruna Sundararajan
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New Delhi–India may well get the first female chief of a financial regulator as two women feature among the top candidates for the post of IRDAI Chairperson.

Former Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan and the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) Whole Time Member, Madhabi Puri Buch, are in the race for the next Chairperson of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, highly-placed sources told IANS.

The Centre has shortlisted few former and current bureaucrats and officials for the post of the insurance regulator.

The selection process is gathering momentum as the post has been vacant for around four months now. The post was last held by Subhash Chandra Khuntia, who was appointed in 2018.

Several concerns have been raised by industry participants as the top post at the insurance regulator remained vacant for a considerable period amid the pandemic.

Sundararajan is currently an Independent Director on the Board of Larsen & Toubro Infotech. A 1982 batch Kerala cadre officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Sundararajan superannuated on July 31, 2019 as Chairman of the Digital Communications Commission, and the Secretary, Telecom.

As Secretary DOT, she was the a key architect of the National Digital Communications Policy 2018 which aims to propel India as a global leader in digital communications. Key achievements during her tenure were the launch of the country’s 5G roadmap, establishment of indigenous test bed, launch of the National Frequency Allocation Plan- 2018, and completion of the first phase of BharatNet.

Buch, on the other hand, got a one-year extension as whole-time member (WTM) at SEBI in October 2020.

The only female board member at SEBI, she took charge of the post on April 5, 2017.

She handles Investment Management Department, Collective Investment Schemes, Integrated Surveillance Department, Department of Economic & Policy Analysis, and the Information Technology Department.

Earlier, she served as consultant to the New Development Bank in Shanghai. She also served as the head of private equity firm, Greater Pacific Capital’s Singapore office. She also served as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at ICICI Securities Ltd and as Executive Director on the Board of ICICI Bank.

Buch also served as a non-executive director on the Boards of various companies. A Graduate in Mathematics from St Stephen’s College, New Delhi, she went on to do an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. (IANS)


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