The government on September 28 appointed PD Vaghela as the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
His appointment is for a period of three years or until he attains the age of 65, whichever is earlier, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said.
Vaghela, a Gujarat-cadre IAS officer, will succeed RS Sharma who is set to demit the office on September 30, 2020.
"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Dr PD Vaghela, IAS (GJ:1986), Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals as Chairperson, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for a period of three years or until he attains the age of 65 years, or until further orders, whichever is the earliest," it said in an order.
Vaghela was the secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, prior to his latest appointment.
As per reports, Vaghela was one among the several officials who played a key role in the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) in 2017.
Typically, the tenure of a TRAI chairman is three years, or 65 years of age, whichever is earlier, and the TRAI Act does not have a provision for extension of the tenure of the chairman.
However, when RS Sharma's three-year tenure ended in August 2018, the government offered him a fresh term of two years, that is till he turned 65. This way, he became the first TRAI chairman to have a tenure of five years.
The telecom sector has been witnessing several changes, a key one being the issue of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues and its subsequent unravelling in the Supreme Court. Despite an extended 10-year time frame granted to telecom companies for the repayment of their dues, the situation for leading players Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel remains grim.