The government has appointed seasoned bureaucrat and gas sector expert Anil Kumar Jain as the new chairman of the oil and gas sector regulatory body, PNGRB, an official order said.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointment of Jain, who retired as coal secretary in October last year, as the new chairman of the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).
The ACC has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, based on the recommendations of the Search Committee, for the appointment of Anil Kumar Jain.
Jain has been appointed as the Chairperson PNGRB "for a period of five years from the date assumption of charge of the post or till attaining the age of 65 years, or until further orders, whichever is the earliest, on a consolidated pay package of Rs 4.50 lakhs per month (without house and car) or as revised by the Ministry of Finance from time to time," the ACC order of May 15 said.
Bihar-born, 1986-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre will fill a position that has been lying vacant since Dinesh Kumar Sarraf retired on December 4, 2020.
Jain was selected after three failed attempts. On June 2, 2021, former power secretary Sanjeev Sahai headed a list of three shortlisted candidates but the list was turned down, as the oil ministry had not firmly recommended a single candidate.
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In November 2021, the government re-advertised the post and held interviews on February 2, 2022.
Tarun Kapur, who retired as oil secretary on November 30, 2021, was recommended for the job but his name too was blocked. In May last year, Kapoor was appointed advisor to the Prime Minister to handle energy and infrastructure issues, for two years.
In August 2022, the search committee selected the then BPCL chairman Arun Kumar Singh to head the PNGRB but his name wasn't processed and he was appointed chairman of ONGC on December 7, 2022.
Sources said Jain was selected by the oil ministry's search committee. The panel invited three candidates for interview on March 31 this year - Jain, GAIL director of business development M V Iyer, and former secretary in the electronics and information technology ministry A P Sawhney.
While Sawhney did not appear for the interview, Jain was selected. His candidate after vetting by the oil ministry was sent to the ACC which on May 15 issued orders appointing him as the chairman of PNGRB.
Jain had previously served in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (also known as the oil ministry) as Director (Natural Gas) from June 2003 to November 2006, after which he was promoted as Joint Secretary (Exploration) which he held until June 2008.
He later became Adviser (Energy) at the government's think tank Niti Aayog in 2012, where he was promoted to Additional Secretary for the Energy vertical. He served at the Aayog until 2017 after which he moved to the Environment Ministry. He was an additional secretary at the environment ministry from 2017 to 2019.
He was appointed Coal Secretary in September 2019, a position from which he retired on October 31, 2022.
Jain has over three decades of administrative experience at the field and policy formulation levels, of which the last 2 decades were in the energy and environment areas. He has authored two books and several articles on the oil and gas sector. In 2012, he published a best seller 'Natural Gas in India: Policy and Liberalisation'.
His last book was published in 2022 by Francis & Taylor (US) and examines the prospects of natural gas in India, particularly in the context of India's net-zero commitment at the COP held at Glasgow.
As Head of the Energy Division of the NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) from 2012 to 2017, he led the team that drafted the National Energy Policy (2017-2040) and also developed the energy scenario modeling tool, IESS, 2047.
An MBA and a Diploma holder in Foreign Trade, Jain completed his Doctorate on the topic of Natural Gas from TERI University in New Delhi (2020).
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