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I&B secretary Bimal Julka applies for the post of TRAI chairman

NEW DELHI: Information and Broadcasting (I&B) secretary Bimal Julka has thrown his hat in the ring to become the next chief of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Incumbent TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar retires next month.

Julka is among the nine serving Union secretaries to have applied for the post of TRAI chairperson. Former deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Subir Gokarn is also one of the applicants, according to a report in the Times of India.

Apart from Julka, defence secretary RK Mathur, IT secretary RS Sharma, commerce secretary Rajeev Kher and steel secretary Rakesh Singh have entered the fray.

Eight retired secretaries have also applied, including former telecom secretary MF Farooqui. Apart from Farooqui, two chief secretaries — one serving and one retired — have also joined the fray.

Altogether, the government has received 77 applications.

Within TRAI, Sudhir Gupta, who is currently serving as secretary, and part-time member Rajiv Sharma have also shown interest in the post.

From the department of telecom (DoT), serving member (technology) SS Sirohi and adviser (technology) A K Bhargava have applied. Former CMD of BSNL R K Upadhyay has also jumped into the fray.

Last month, the government started the process of identifying Khullar’s successor by inviting applications from interested and qualified candidates for the post of chairperson, which falls vacant on 14 May 2015. The last date to send applications was 9 April.

TRAI is the regulator for the telecom and broadcasting sector. The tenure of the post is for three years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. The chairperson is entitled to a pay package of Rs 450,000 per month (without house and car).

The chairperson heads TRAI and has powers of general superintendence and direction in the conduct of the affairs of the authority.

In order to be eligible for the post, the candidate must have held the post of secretary, or additional secretary to the government of India, or any equivalent post in the central government or the state government for a period of not less than three years.

The candidate must also possess special knowledge of, and professional experience in, telecommunication, industry, finance, accountancy, law, management, or consumer affairs.