Govt appoints ex-financial services secretary Debasish Panda as IRDAI chief

NEW DELHI: The government on Friday appointed former financial services secretary Debasish Panda as chairman of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved Panda’s appointment as chairperson of the insurance regulator initially for a period of three years from the assumption of charge, sources said.
Panda, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, retired as financial services secretary in January this year after a two-year stint.
The appointment of IRDAI chairman comes nearly 9 months after the vacancy was created following Subhash Chandra Khuntia completing his term in May last year.
In April 2021, the finance ministry had invited applications to replace Khuntia.
As per the procedure for the appointment of regulators, the name is suggested by the Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee (FSRASC) headed by the Cabinet Secretary.
Based on interaction with eligible candidates, FSRASC recommends the name to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for its final approval.
Prior to elevation as financial services secretary, Panda served as additional secretary looking after insurance and financial inclusion division.
He was also the government nominee director on board of IRDAI and served on the boards of some public sector banks and insurance companies. Panda was also on the board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
During his stint in Uttar Pradesh, he was Principal Secretary, Home and Agriculture and Cooperation, Resident Commissioner and CEO of Greater Noida Authority.
Panda also served as joint secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Deputy Director (Administration), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. IRDAI is entrusted with the task of protecting the interest of insurance policyholders and bringing about speedy and orderly growth of the insurance industry (including annuity and superannuation payments), for the benefit of the common man and to provide long term funds for accelerating growth of the economy.
It also helps promote fairness, transparency and orderly conduct in financial markets dealing with insurance and build a reliable management information system to enforce high standards of financial soundness among market players.

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