Appointments - Current Affairs for March,2017

Month and Year:   
▼ FreeCharge appoints Ankit Khanna COO   [03-23-17]

FreeCharge on March 22, 2017 announced promotion of Ankit Khanna to Chief Operating Officer of the company.

Ankit will be managing product, user growth, user experience and business development at Freecharge.

Before taking charge as the COO, Ankit was the Chief Product Officer with the company.

Prior to this, he was the Senior Vice President, Product at Snapdeal and has been with Snapdeal since the company's inception in 2010, where he joined as the Product head.

Ankit holds a Bachelors in technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

Before joining Snapdeal, Ankit also co-founded Itasveer in 2006, an online solution for photo printing which was later acquired by a Pune based IT Services company.

FreeCharge: Know More

  • Status: Acquired by Snapdeal on April 8, 2015
  • Total Equity Funding: $174.22M in 5 Rounds from 6 Investors
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Description: FreeCharge is a service that gives users coupons for charging their mobile plans.
  • Founders: Sandeep Tandon, Kunal Shah
  • Categories: Internet, Coupons, Payments
  • Website: https://www.freecharge.in

▼ Ghanshyam Singh: Member (Traction) Railway Board   [03-22-17]

Shri Ghanshyam Singh, has been appointed as new Member (Traction) Railway Board and ex officio Secretary to the Government of India with effect from 21 March 2017.

Shri Singh, an officer of Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineering (IRSEE) of 1979 batch, and is a Gold Medalist in B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Allahabad University.

He was General Manager, Eastern Railway, Kolkata.

He worked as Chief Electrical Engineer, Northern Railway. Shri Singh has also worked in various other important posts at Railway Board level & all over Indian Railways.

Shri Singh executed several innovative projects including planning for Rail Infrastructure Development of Power Plant & Refineries, Rail Electrification and more.

He is also credited to have designed the high voltage distribution system for rural electrification in Uttarakhand.

While working as Chief Electrical Engineer in ER, Shri Singh developed the methodology for power procurement from the private producers for the first time in IR.

He has also designed HVDS (High Voltage Distribution System) for rural electrification in the state of Uttaranchal.

He was awarded twice by the Hon’ble Railway Minister for his outstanding service.

▼ Jason Kothari to head FreeCharge   [03-21-17]

Snapdeal has appointed former online real estate portal Housing.com executive Jason Kothari to the position of Chief Executive Officer of its digital payments subsidiary Freecharge.

It is also committing to invest a further $20 million into the firm.

Kothari’s appointment to the role comes a month after former Freecharge CEO Govind Rajan quit the company.

This is amid growing concerns of Freecharge losing out to larger rival Paytm in India’s fast growing digital payments space.

FreeCharge

  • Owner : Snapdeal
  • Founded : August 2010
  • Founder : Kunal Shah , Sandeep Tandon
  • Headquarters : Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

▼ Safai Karamcharis Manhar Vaji - Chairperson of the National Commission   [03-20-17]

Manhar Vaji on March 16, 2017 became the chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis.

Along with Valji, two other members Manju Diler and Dalip Kallu Hathibed assumed office.

The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis aims to study, evaluate and monitor the implementation of various schemes meant for the welfare of safai karamcharis.

The commission was set up in August 1994 as per the provisions of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993.

The commission consists of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson and five members.

Among them, at least one of the members shall be a woman.

The chairperson, vice-chairperson and every member shall hold office for such period not exceeding three years.

All orders and decisions of the commission shall be authenticated by the chairperson or any other officer of the commission duly authorised by the chairperson in this behalf.

Functions of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis

  • Recommend to the Union Government specific programmes of action towards elimination of inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities for safai karamcharis under a time-bound action plan.
  • Study and evaluate the implementation of the programmes and schemes relating to the social and economic rehabilitation of safai karamcharis.
  • Investigate specific grievances and take sou moto notice of matters relating to non-implementation of programmes or schemes in respect of any group of safai karamcharis.

▼ Lenovo appoints Subhankar Roy Chowdhury as HR team head    [03-20-17]

Lenovo has announced the appointment of Subhankar Roy Chowdhury to head the HR team in Asia Pacific.

He was earlier the executive director and global head for HR strategy, merger and acquisitions and HR analytics.

He will now work on transforming business operations and putting together people strategy in Asia Pacific with the aim to build leadership, transform culture and develop talent resources.

Chowdhury will report to senior vice president and President Asia Pacific Ken Wong leading the company's business across the region.

Subhankar and his team have advantaged corporate HR strategy at Lenovo.

Subhankar previously held leadership positions in HR consulting and HR generalist roles at Nokia, IBM Business Consulting, PwC, Siemens Information Systems and L&T in India, Middle East Africa and South East Asia regions.

Subhankar holds a masters degree in personnel management and a bachelor's degree in Economics.

Subhankar succeeds Andrew Dahms, who departs towards the close of March 2017.

Lenovo: Know More

  • Headquarters: Morrisville, North Carolina, United States
  • CEO: Yang Yuanqing (since 5 Feb 2009)
  • Parent organization: Legend Holdings

▼ Babul Supriyo - Vice President of FIFA U-17 committee   [03-17-17]

Singer turned Union minister Babul Supriyo has been appointed Vice President of the 2017 U-17 Fifa World Cup organising committee, turned-BJP MP Babul Supriyo as vice-president of the Local Organising Committee (LoC) of the FIFA U-17 World Cup to be hosted by India from October 6 .

The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup will be the 17th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

It is the biennial international men's youth football championship contested by the U17 national teams of the member associations of FIFA.

FIFA U-17 World Cup

  • Dates: 6 Oct 2017 – 28 Oct 2017
  • Teams: 24
  • Venues: 6

▼ Seema Verma to head medicare, medicaid in US   [03-16-17]

Indian-American Seema Verma has been sworn-in as the head of a key healthcare agency in the Donald Trump administration.

Ms. Verma was sworn in on March 14, 2017 by U.S Vice President Mike Pence as administrator of the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

These are part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The $1 trillion agency oversees health insurance programmes for everyone from nursing home residents to newborns.

The Senate confirmed her nomination on Monday by a vote of 55-43, largely along party lines.

Verma is taking over the agency as a Republican healthcare bill moving through the House has reopened the debate over the government’s role in healthcare.

Verma is an Indiana healthcare consultant.

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), which represents more than 60,000 physicians, welcomed Verma’s appointment.

Her role will extend beyond the insurance programmes - Medicare for senior citizens and Medicaid for the poor - to helping craft and implement the Republican healthcare reform plan to replace Obamacare.

▼ CWC gets a new chairman    [03-15-17]

Narendra Kumar on March 9, 2017 was appointed the new chairman of the Central Water Commission.

He succeeded GS Jha who supernannuated on the same day.

He is a CWES or Central Water Engineering Service officer of 1979 batch.

Holding a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from IIT-Roorkee, he has completed his M.Tech with structural engineering as specialization from IIT-D.

Narendra Kumar worked in the Central Water Commission in various capacities such as an assistant director, deputy director and director.

He also had served as the senior joint commissioner in the Union Ministry of Water Resources between 2002 and 2005.

He worked as the commissioner, Brahmaputra and Barak wing of the ministry between 2011 and 2014.

Central Water Commission: Know More

  • It is a premier technical organization of India in the field of water resources.
  • At present, it is functioning as an attached office of the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • The commission is headed by a chairman, with the status of Ex-Officio Secretary to the Government of India.
  • The work of the commission is divided among 3 wings, namely, Designs and Research (D&R) Wing, River Management (RM) Wing and Water Planning and Projects (WP&P) Wing.
  • Each wing is placed under the charge of a full-time member with the status of Ex-Officio Additional Secretary to the Government of India.
  • It is comprising of a number of organizations responsible for the disposal of tasks and duties falling within their assigned scope of functions.

▼ TATA Sons appoints Ankur Verma    [03-15-17]

Tata Sons has strengthened the Chairman’s office by hiring known investment banker Ankur Verma to join the holding company of the Tata Group.

He would be closely working with N Chandrasekaran, who took over as Tata Sons Chairman on February 21, 2017.

Verma has joined Tata Sons from Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he served as Managing Director (Investment Banking Division).

Verma has done PGDM from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, after graduating in Mechanical Engineering from the Delhi College of Engineering.

This is the first big time hiring at Tata Sons from outside the group after former Chairman Cyrus Mistry was ousted from his position as well as from the group in a big power struggle.

The Group Executive Council (GEC) which was set up by Mr Mistry was disbanded soon after his removal.

GEC members Madhu Kannan, Professor Nirmalya Kumar and NS Rajan who were hired from outside were asked to go and other GEC members Tata insiders Mukund Rajan and Harish Bhat were transferred to different roles.

The GEC used to provide strategic and operational support to the former Chairman Mr Mistry.

TATA Sons: Know More

  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Founder: Jamsetji Tata
  • Founded: 1917
  • Type of business: Private

▼ HSBC appoints Mark Tucker as Group Chairman    [03-14-17]

HSBC has appointed Mark Tucker, the chief executive of Asian insurer AIA, as group chairman.

Tucker will take over on 1 October, succeeding Douglas Flint who has been in the role since 2010.

The appointment breaks an HSBC tradition of appointing insiders to the chairmanship.

Tucker has been chief executive of AIA for seven years, during which he oversaw the insurer's expansion in Asia.

Prior to AIA, he was the chief executive of insurance giant Prudential, and brings to HSBC his experience at the top of a UK financial giant as well as his Asian exposure.

HSBC has been through an overhaul in recent years in an attempt to reverse declining profits.

Over the past six years it has cut more than 40,000 jobs and sold off businesses.

Despite those efforts, profits tumbled more than 60% last year.

In 2017, it reached a $470m (£325m) settlement with the US government and states related to dubious mortgage lending and foreclosure practices during the financial crisis.

In late 2012 HSBC paid US authorities $1.9bn in a settlement over money laundering.

AIA said that Ng Keng Hooi, would take over as chief executive from 1 September.

HSBC Bank

  • CEO: António Pedro dos Santos Simões (1 Sep 2015)
  • Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
  • Founded: 15 August 1836, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Number of employees: 85,000
  • Subsidiaries: First Direct, M&S Bank, HSBC Bank, HSBC France, more
  • Parent organization: HSBC

▼ BP Kanungo appointed Deputy Governor RBI   [03-14-17]

BP Kanungo on 10th March 2017 was appointed Deputy Governor in RBI for three years.

The ACC approved the appointment to the post with effect from the date of taking charge on or after April 3.

He has been appointed as deputy governor in place of R. Gandhi.

Kanungo was in March 2016 appointed ED of the Central Bank.

The ACC has named Dilip S. Shanghvi as the Member of RBI's Western Local Board.

The appointment of Shanghvi who is the promoter of Sun Pharma, is for a period of 4 years.

RBI: Know More

  • Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Established: 1 April 1935
  • Governor: Urjit Patel
  • Central bank of India
  • Currency : Indian Rupee (₹)
  • Reserves: US$ 363.00 billion
  • Bank rate: 6.75%
  • Interest on reserves: 4.00%(market determined)
  • Website: rbi.org.in

▼ Cairn India advisors are Atul Gupta, Melody Meyer   [03-8-17]

Oil and gas experts Melody Meyer and Atul Gupta were on 6 March 2017 appointed as advisors of Hydrocarbons major Cairn India.

As advisors, they will provide strategic direction and delivery focus to Cairn India. The aforesaid appointments were made in a move to gear up in achieving the aim of contributing 50 per cent of India’s overall crude production through 5 billion barrels of oil equivalent reserves.

Cairn India seeks to invest Rs 30000 crore in five new projects.

These are Enhanced Oil Recovery projects for Bhagyam and Aishwariya, Raageshwari Deep Gas (RDG), Barmer Hill tight oil and Aishwariya Hill tight oil.

Meyer, a United States citizen, has 37 years of experience with Chevron Corporation.

She was the Asia-Pacific President of Chevron Corporation where she was responsible for driving Chevron’s exploration and production (E&P) activities across nine countries in the region.

Atul Gupta has also served as the Managing Director of Hindustan Oil Exploration Company of HOEC Bardahl India from August 2006 to August 2008.

Cairn India is one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in India. It is a subsidiary of the natural resources company Vedanta Ltd, led by Anil Agarwal.

Headquartered in Gurgaon, the company has operational offices in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

▼ Amjad Hussein B. Sial is new SAARC Secretary General   [03-6-17]

In a first, Pakistan on March 1, 2017 succeeded in getting an official elected to the post of Secretary General for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

Pakistan was backed by all members including India. The selection was consensus based.

Election is of administrative nature only. Pakistan will provide the next secretary general making a smooth transition from Nepal to Pakistan.

The new SAARC chief is a veteran diplomat and has been waiting to take charge since March 2016.

Sial was elected as Pakistan and India both want SAARC to function efficiently.

Following the terrorist attack in Uri, India had opposed the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in Nov 2016.

India had sent delegates including the Joint Secretary in charge of SAARC for meeting SAARC reps in February to finalise the issue of budget and admin matters.

Sial has assumed charge of the office of Secretary General of SAARC from March 1, 2017, according to a press release issued by SAARC Secretariat here.

He has succeeded Nepal's Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who was appointed the Secretary-General in 2014.

The Pakistani turn, which is held by rotation, starts from March 1, 2017, and continues till February 28, 2020.

About Amjad Hussein B. Sial: Know More

  • Sial's nomination was made by Pakistan at the SAARC Council of Ministers in Pokhara, Nepal, in March 2016 and was endorsed by all member states.
  • He is a seasoned diplomat from Pakistan Foreign Service with over 33 years of career in the diplomatic field.
  • Before joining the SAARC Secretariat Sial was Special Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.
  • He has a rich experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy both at Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad and Missions abroad.
  • Sial had served as Pakistan's ambassador to Tajikistan and permanent representative at Pakistan Mission to the UN.SAARC is an eight-member regional grouping that comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

▼ PK Purwar : New MTNL CMD   [03-6-17]

P K Purwar was appointed Chairman and Managing Director of state-run telecom major Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment to the post for five years, an official order said.

He is currently working as Director (Finance) in MTNL.

Purwar held the additional charge of the post of MTNL CMD between June 2014 and June 2015.

In June last year, he was again given this additional charge.

A process has been underway for long time to find a new head of the loss-making telecom PSU and a search-cum-selection committee was earlier constituted under the chairman of Public Enterprises Selection Board for the appointment.

Narendra Kumar Yadav relinquished the top post on completion of his tenure.

Purwar, the director (finance) of MTNL, had earlier held the additional charge between June 2014 and June 2015.

Narendra Kumar Yadav has relinquished the charge of CMD of the company w.e.f. 8 June 2016. P.K. Purwar, director (finance), MTNL, has been entrusted with the additional charge of the post of CMD,

Yadav, a member (services) department of telecom, had been given the additional charge of CMD on 8 June 2015.

The telecom public sector undertaking (PSU) has been without a full-time CMD since 30 May 2014 when A.K. Garg retired from the post.

Purwar was given additional charge after Garg’s retirement.

Purwar’s name had been recommended for the MTNL’s top post by the public enterprises selection board (PESB) in November 2013, but the government did not go ahead with the recommendation.

MTNL, which offers telecom services in Delhi and Mumbai circles, has been making losses since 2009-10.

The PSU posted a consolidated net loss of Rs.2,012.24 crore for year ended 31 March 2016, against that of Rs.2,901.16 crore at the end of March 2015.

The telecom firm, however, expects to post operational profit at the end of the current financial year and turn profitable in 2017-18.

At the end of March 2016, the company had 3,56,085 wireless subscribers and 3,504,088 wireline users, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s data.

MTNL: Know More

  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • CEO: Pravin Kumar Purwar ( since 2014)
  • Founded: 1 April 1986
  • Number of employees: 45,000
  • Type of business: Publicly listed state-owned enterprise
  • Subsidiaries: Mahanagar Telephone Mauritius Limited, Millennium Telecom Ltd., MTNL-STPI IT Services Ltd

▼ Manjeev Singh Puri: India's new ambassador to Nepal   [03-3-17]

India has proposed the name of Manjeev Singh Puri as its next Ambassador to Nepal, with the term of senior Indian diplomat Ranjit Rae coming to an end.

Mr. Puri is the incumbent Indian Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg.

An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Kathmandu confirmed that Mr. Puri’s name was sent to the MoFA on Tuesday and the process for sending the agreement for his appointment would commence.

Outgoing Ambassador Mr. Rae, whose term ended on Feb 28, 2017, had informed Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ of New Delhi’s decision during his farewell call on March 1.

Nepal: Know More

  • Nepal is officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
  • It is a landlocked central Himalayan country in South Asia.
  • It has a population of 26.4 million.
  • It is the 93rd largest country by area.
  • Capital: Kathmandu

▼ JS Deepak named India's ambassador to WTO   [03-2-17]

Telecom Secretary JS Deepak has been appointed India's permanent representative to World Trade Organization (WTO).

Mr. Deepak will take over his new assignment from June 1, 2017 and till then he will be Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Department of Commerce in the Ministry of Commerce and Industries with immediate effect.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued the order on March 1, 2017.

Previously, as Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Deepak, a 1982-batch IAS of UP cadre, handled WTO and other international agencies.

With his transfer from the ministry, the government is expected to name a new secretary for the telecom as also for other ministries like tribal affairs and tourism.

Secretary, Culture, N.K. Sinha has been given the additional charge of Secretary, Tourism and Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment G. Latha Krishna Rao has been given additional charge of Secretary, Tribal Affairs.

▼ Sumit Mullick is new Chief Secretary of Maharashtra   [03-2-17]

Senior IAS officer Sumit Mullick was on March 1, 2017 appointed as the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra.

He will succeed Swadheen Kshatriya, who was due for retirement on January 31, but was given a month's extension.

Mullick, a 1982 batch IAS officer is Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) and currently serving as the Chief Protocol Officer in the General Administration department.

Mullick is the senior most bureaucrat in the state after Kshatriya and will retire in April 2018.

Mullick (58) is the third Dalit to reach the highest post in the state’s bureaucracy after PG Gavai (1979-82) and JP Dange (2009-11).

Mullick was the Additional Chief Secretary of the protocol department - a post that he will continue to hold as full additional charge till further orders.

Kshatriya attained a prestigious post retirement posting as Maharashtra’s first Chief Commissioner of the Right to Services, a post he is expected to hold for another five years.

Know More: Sumit Mullick

  • Mullick's first posting was that of an Assistant Collector in Nagpur.
  • It was in 1989 when Mullick first bagged a posting in Mumbai as the Additional Collector (Urban Land Ceiling) before being deputed to the Sangli Collector’s post.
  • He has also previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (2002), and was later appointed as the Secretary to former Maharashtra Governor Mohammed Fazal (2003).
  • As a secretary in Mantralaya, Mullick has handled various portfolios including school education, social justice and special assistance, excise, the general administration.
  • Since 2009 he had been handling the post of the state’s Chief Protocol Officer. In 2013 he was elevated to the Additional Chief Secretary rank.
  • Besides his administrative prowess, Mullick has a published novel to his credit. His book, Unkindest Cut, which was released in 2013, had ended up creating quite a stir (said to be of the time he was secretary to the Governor) but the novel was fictional.
  • The bureaucrat who claims his hobby is writing has a Bachelors of Arts degree in History.
  • He has an MBA degree from IIM (Bangalore) and also has a post graduation degree in Economics and Development Studies from the Wales University.

▼ SightSavers appoints Kabir Bedi as honourary ambassador   [03-1-17]

Noted film actor Kabir Bedi was today appointed as the honourary brand ambassador of Sightsavers, a global organisation working to prevent avoidable blindness.

Six blind girls from Madhya Pradesh, who had participated and won medals in the 5th National Blind and Deaf Judo Competition held in Gurgaon in January, were felicitated by Kabir Bedi and SY Quraishi, honourary chairman of the India unit of the organisation.

Quraishi is also the former Chief Election Commissioner of India.

Quraishi said problems of sight needed to be taken care of at school level as 80 per cent blindness in the country is avoidable if proper intervention is made.

He hoped the actor's association would help the organisation towards a focused journey with amplified impact in the coming days.

CEO of Sightsavers India RN Mohanty said the organisation would continuously strive to reach out to more people and benefit them.

SightSavers: Know More

  • Sightsavers is a global non-governmental organisation that works with partners in developing countries to treat and prevent avoidable blindness.
  • It also promote equality for people with visual impairments and other disabilities.
  • It is located in Haywards Heath in the United Kingdom, with branches in Sweden, Norway, India, Italy, Republic of Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, and the USA.
  • The charity was formed in 1950 by Sir John Wilson and was originally called the British Empire Society for the Blind.
  • It was then the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind.
  • Its patron is HRH Princess Alexandra.

Chronology of events
Globally acclaimed author Neil Gaiman was appointed as a global goodwill ambassador of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Refugee Agency.
Former Utah Republican Governor Jon Huntsman was appointed as US Ambassador to Russia. His appointment now requires Senate confirmation.
Justice Navniti Prasad, a judge in the Patna High Court has been appointed Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.
Justice T B Radhakrishnan, acting Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court has been sent as Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court.
Acting Chief Justice of the Patna High Court Hemant Gupta has been made Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Acting Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court P K Mohanty has been made ‘regular’ chief justice
China's ZTE Corp names Yin Yimin as new chairman
Justice Rajendra Menon was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court. He was administered oath to office by Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind.
INC floor leader in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge will become next chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). He will succeed his party colleague KV Thomas.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appointed Soumya Swaminathan, Director of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in the high level group to provide expertise on and coordinate the global fight against antimicrobial resistance.
Upendra Tripathy appointed as the Interim Director General (IDG) of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on a full time basis; he was the Former Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy from 1st April, 2014 until 31st October 2016.