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New Delhi, July 15, 2020
The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has appointed Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa as Vice-President for Private Sector Operations and Public–Private Partnerships.
He will succeed Diwakar Gupta, whose term will end on August 31, a press release from the bank said
Lavasa, 62, is a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1980 batch (Haryana cadre), and is currently one of the two Election Commissioners in the Election Commission of India.
He has earlier served as Union Finance Secretary and Secretary, Expenditure, in the Ministry of Finance; Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change; and Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
"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," the release said.
Lavasa led the Indian delegation in the climate change negotiations for the Paris Agreement and was instrumental in finalizing India’s nationally determined contributions, which included a major role of the private sector. 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, the release noted.
As Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, he worked closely with many ADB projects that had private sector components.
He retired from the IAS in October, 2017, after which he was appointed as one of the two Election Commissioners in January, 2018.
This is probably the first time that an Election Commissioner has been appointed to another assignment while still in office.
The full Election Commission is made up of the Chief Election Commissioner and the two Election Commissioners.
Lavasa was at the centre of a controversy in May 2019 when he recused himself from attending Full Commission meetings held to decide on MCC violations, after his dissent on the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then BJP President Amit Shah on their respective speeches went unrecorded.
Lavasa, in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, insisted that he would attend the EC meetings if his minority decisions were also included in the orders of the Commission.
Later, in the months that followed, his wife and son were served with a series of notices from the Income Tax authorities.
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.