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August 2017 Persons in News

  • Panneer Selvam: In a significant development in Tamil Nadu politics, the warring factions of the AIADMK led by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy and his predecessor O Panneerselvam were merged together on 21st August. Panneer Selvam has been administered by Governor Vidyasagar Rao as the Deputy Chief Minister of state. 

  • PVRK Prasad: Former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao’s media advisor PVRK Prasad passed away on 21st August. The book authored by him was s book Wheels Behind the Veil (CMs, PMs and Beyond) in 2012. Prasad made a mark as the Executive Officer of the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD) and Chairman of the Vizag Port Trust. 

    He brought in several reforms and initiated projects as EO of the TTD during 1978-82 and also as advisor to the body that administers the super rich Devasthanam after his retirement. Influenced by the stint there, he authored several devotional books, including Tirumala Charitamurthan and Tirumala Leelamrutham. 

  • Ashwani Lohani: Ashwani Lohani will be the new Chairman of Railway Board, the appointment of Mr Lohani, an officer of the Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers, IRSME, was cleared by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on 23rd August. He is presently serving as the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India. He has previously served as DRM, Delhi Division, Director of National Rail Museum and Chief Administrative Officer of Rail Alternate Fuel. Incumbent Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal resigned owning moral responsibility for Muzzafarnagar train accident which had claimed over 20 lives. 

  • Nandan Nilekani: Nandan Nilekani has returned to rescue Infosys, a company he and six others founded in 1981. Nilekani, the architect of the unique identity number, Aadhaar, took over as the non-executive chairman of Infosys. Following this development, Vishal Sikka, R Seshasayee, Jeff Lehman and John Etchemendy stepped down from the Board. 

    Ravi Venkatesan, the co-chairman who has also stepped down from his position, will continue to be on the Board for some more time, according to a company statement. UB Pravin Rao will continue to be interim CEO and Managing Director, the company said. 

  • E Sankar Rao: IFCI Ltd, a government company, is set to have a new Managing Director and CEO in E Sankara Rao, who is currently Chief General Manager at India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL). The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has given its nod for the Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposal to appoint Rao as Managing Director and CEO of IFCI Ltd. 

  • Visal Sikka: In a stunning move, Infosys CEO and MD Vishal Sikka on 18th August resigned from his posts, accusing co-founder and former chairman NR Narayana Murthy of carrying out a “malicious” campaign against the board. 

    The board meanwhile has made the chief operating officer, UB Pravin Rao the interim CEO and MD. Sikka has been made the vice-chairman, a newly created post. A nomination committee has also been set up and tasked with selecting a new CEO before March next. 

    In another development, former CFO of Infosys, TV Mohandas Pai, called for the resignation of the entire board and wanted institutional investors and the founders to put together a new board. 

    The Infosys management and the co-founders led by Murthy have been trading charges against each other over several issues, including the payout given to a former CFO, Rajiv Bansal, when he quit. 

    The current chairman, R Seshasayee, had later said that such payouts would not happen again. Later, a whistleblower had alleged in an email that Panaya, an Israeli company which was acquired for $200 million, was highly overvalued. 

    Following the allegation, Infosys set up an independent probe panel, which cleared Sikka and the others involved of any wrongdoings. Sikka’s resignation and the management tussle saw Infosys shares tumble as much as 9.3 per cent on, its steepest fall in the last 13 months, wiping out Rs. 20,000 crore in market capitalisation. The stocks closed at Rs. 923.15, down 9.51 per cent. 

    VK Sharma, an analyst with HDFC Securities, said Sikka’s exit brings a closure to the boardroom battle. Sikka’s allegation that he was continuously being distracted does not wash as he had a long enough honeymoon period to make his mark, Sharma added.

  • Mohammad Mustafa: The Centre has appointed Mohammad Mustafa, a 1995 batch IAS officer, as Chairman and Managing Director of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). Prior to this, Mustafa was Joint Secretary in the Department of Financial Services in the Finance Ministry. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment for three years, according to a Department of Personnel and Training order. 

  • Venkaia Naidu: Former Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was sworn-in as 13th Vice President of India on 11th August. He has been administered the oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind at a special function at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mr. Naidu was elected as the Vice President on 5th of this month defeating opposition candidate Gopal Krishna Gandhi. 

    Before being elected to the second highest constitutional post of the country, Mr Naidu has held several positions and carried his successful political career during his three decade long public life. He has served as national president of BJP from 2002 to 2004. In the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government he was the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development. 

    In present Narendra Modi led government Mr Naidu served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs and Information and Broadcasting. 

  • Uhuru Kenyatta: In Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta has been re-elected as President following election. According to Election Commission Head Wafula Chebukati announced in Nairobi that Kenyatta got 54.27 per cent votes beating his rival Raifa Odinga who got 44.74 per cent of votes. 

    Earlier, opposition leader and Presidential candidate Raila Odinga claimed massive fraud during Presidential polls. However, the country's Electoral Commission has denied opposition claims that IT system had been hacked in order to manipulate the poll results. 

    It may be recalled that, violence after the disputed election 10 years ago left more than 1,100 Kenyans killed and 6,00,000 were displaced. 

  • S Aparna: The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed senior IAS officer from Gujarat S. Aparna as Executive Director of the World Bank. She replaces Subhash Garg who was recently appointed as Economic Affairs Secretary, Union Ministry of Finance. At the World Bank, she will represent the constituency of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka for three years. 

  • Deepak Mishra: Justice Deepak Misra, senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, was on 8th August appointed as the next Chief Justice of India. Misra will take over from incumbent Justice JS Khehar, who will retire on August 27. 

  • Arvind Panagariya: Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya on 1st August requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to relieve him of his duties by 31st of August. The Indian-American economist and Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University, Mr Panagariya had joined as the first Vice-Chairman of the Niti Aayog in January 2015. 

  • P.M.Bhargava: Pushpa Mitra Bhargava, well-known scientist, institution builder & science populariser, passed away on 1st August after prolonged illness. 

    The founder director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Bhargava is one of the architects of modern biology and biotechnology in the country. In a career spanning 55 years, he has been a key participant in several development projects in science. A champion of scientific temper, Bhargava stood up to causes that espoused modern science. 

    He played an important role in the development and increased use of DNA fingerprinting (deoxyribonucleac acid) technology as Director of the CCMB, where the indigenous probe was developed by Lalji Singh and team. His tenure as CCMB Director was marked by the visit of Nobel Laureates, artists like MF Hussain (who painted a mural) and lively discussions between science & art and popular lectures. 

  • Abhay Krishna: General Abhay Krishna appointed as the Chief of the Indian Army’s Eastern Command. He succeeds Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi who has retired from service. He is a gallantry award winner in counter insurgency operations in Manipur and commanded Rashtriya Rifles Battalion in the Kashmir Valley. 

  • Peter O’Neill: He has been reappointed as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. He is the leader of the People’s National Congress and represents the constituency of Ialibu-Pangia. 

  • Dhirendra Swarup: The Securities and Exchange Board of India approved the appointment of Dhirendra Swarup as the chairman of the board of directors of the Bombay Stock Exchange. 

  • Venkaia Naidu: Former Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu will be the new Vice President of India as he defeated Gopal Krishna Gandhi by 272 votes. Voting to elect the 13th Vice President was conducted on 5th August with 98.21 per cent polling recorded. 

    According to Returning Officer Shemsher K Sharif, Venkaia Naidu received 516 votes against Gopalkrishna Gandhi's 244 votes. 

    771 votes out of 785 votes were cast in the elections. 14 MPs did not cast their votes. The newly elected Vice President will take oath on the 11th of August. Mr Naidu has served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs and Information and Broadcasting in the present government. 

    Mr. Naidu was born on 1st July, 1949 in Chavatapalem, a remote village in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. During his three decades in public life, Mr Naidu has held several positions, including President of BJP. The opposition nominee Mr Gandhi, a former IAS officer, has served as Governor of West Bengal. 

  • Rajeev Kumar: Economist Rajiv Kumar will be the new Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, will succeed Arvind Panagariya, the first Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog. Panagariya had recently resigned from his post. 

    Rajiv Kumar has been a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, the secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and chief economist at the Confederation of Indian Industry. 

    A DPhil in economics from Oxford and a PhD from Lucknow University, Kumar has held senior positions in the Ministries of Industries and Finance, and is currently serving as founding director of Pahle India Foundation, a non-profit financial, economic and political research think-tank. 

    He is an independent member in the high-level search committee for appointment of regulators in the Indian financial sector, a government-nominated independent director on the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India, an independent director on the Board of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd, and a member of the Advisory Board of CISCO India.
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