RS Sharma new TRAI chairman; challenges aplenty

MUMBAI: The position had been lying vacant for almost three months. And his was one of the names mentioned as amongst the front runners to become the next Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman. (See: TRAI Chairmanship: An onerous responsibility fraught with delicate diplomacy & balancing acts)

So when the announcement came that IT secretary Ram Sewak Sharma would be stepping into the shoes of Rahul Khullar whose term ended in May, it didn't come as much of a surprise.

The appointment committee of the Cabinet approved his name yesterday. Sharma is an IAS 1978 batch from the Jharkhand cadre. He was heavily involved in the implementation of the Aadhar project apart from designing the road map for the government?s digital India programme. He was director-general and mission director of the Unique Identification Authority of India.

Sharma holds quite a few scholarly degrees from academia?s best. He has a Masters degree in Mathematics from IIT Kanpur, and a Masters in Computer Science from the University of California.

Other names, which were being considered for the post, according to Business Standard, included Power Secretary PK Sinha, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka, Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher, former telecom secretary M F Farooqui, and former Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Subir Gokarn.

Sharma will have a key role to play on the net neutrality issue and also find solutions for the poor call quality that mobile companies are offering today. This apart, he has challenges facing him on cable TV digitisation, which has been in near limbo for a while now, especially when it comes to phase III and phase IV. The I&B ministry has been unable to push the pace on its own.

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