The Election Commission of India (ECI), the country’s top electoral authority appointed Arun Goel as one of its two Election Commissioners. He joined as EC on Monday.
Dedicated to the service of the public, Goel has worked for the government in various capacities and has contributed significantly to several initiatives in several industries and the employment sector. His contribution to the introduction of the E-Vehicle Policy and the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) programme to the automobile sector is highly acknowledged.
Arun Goel is an avid traveller and watersports aficionado. Goel joined the prestigious IAS in 1985 from the Punjab Cadre. He was born on December 7, 1962, and before quitting as secretary of heavy industries last week, he served for the federal and Punjab governments in a variety of posts for more than 37 years.
He is an alumni of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Churchill College, University of Cambridge, where he earned a master’s degree in development economics.
From 2011 until the present, Goel has held positions at the Union Ministries of Culture, Labor & Employment, Urban Development, and Finance. Goel oversaw the construction of various new museums during his tenure as culture secretary (2018–19), including the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Museum at Red Fort and the recently built Prime Minister’s Museum in Delhi, whose foundation stone was laid during his tenure.
Prior to this, from 1993 to 1994 and from 1995 to 2000, he served as the district election officer for Bathinda and Ludhiana, both in the Punjab. As Chief Secretary of Punjab, he oversaw the implementation of many long-delayed energy reforms and infrastructure projects.
According to ECI’s website: “He implemented the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the automobile industry in record time, producing Rs 67,690 crore instead of the projected Rs 42,500 crore.”.
Goel has been appointed to the Election Commission just days before the Gujarat elections, his appointment can escalate hostilities between the ruling BJP and opposition parties.
He will be the next in line when current Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar retires in 2025.
Notably, EC and CEC positions can only be kept for a total of six years, or until the employee becomes 65.
What is the controversy around his appointment and why SC has expressed dissatisfaction to the central government.
Arun Goel, who was the secretary, voluntarily retired on Friday, the announcement of his appointment came out on Saturday, and he began his duties as EC on Monday.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Centre to disclose documents related to Arun Goel’s appointment as Election Commissioner. The Supreme Court questioned the Central Government on the appointment of Arun Goel as Election Commissioner. The Supreme Court stated, “We would like to know what method is followed in terms of appointment.” There is no problem if it is done in accordance with the regulations.
The Supreme Court further noted that the appointment should have been delayed until the Constitution Bench hearing on the CEC and EC selection process was completed.