As additional secretary in the Union telecom department, Subodh Kumar had a role to play in the success of the 3G and Broadband Wireless Access spectrum auction that earned the government Rs1,06,000 crore.
The 58-year-old now has a more daunting task at hand – to bring the working of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) back on track.
Born in Uttar Pradesh on January 10, 1952, Kumar took over as municipal commissioner on Monday at a time when the BMC, one of the richest civic bodies in the country, is drawing flak for mismanaging its finances.
An officer from the Indian Administrative Services batch of 1977, Kumar returned to his home cadre, Maharashtra, last week after serving in the Union telecom ministry.
He has vast experience in government finances and has handled the state exchequer as finance secretary.
After taking charge from Swadheen Kshatriya on Monday, a low-profile Kumar said: “I will try to make this organisation more transparent and progressive. I will take a review of the working procedure and rules, and try to make them more citizen-friendly.”
With only 13 months left before he retires, Kumar is taking over when the BMC is in a mess. Chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan, recently ordered the corporation to submit audit reports of the last three years. During the winter session of the Assembly in December, Chavan said the government would investigate allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds in the BMC.
Kumar served as additional commissioner in the BMC from 1999 to 2001 and is remembered for turning the civic body’s finances around. Known for going by the rulebook, Kumar had frequent run-ins with the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party due to his style of functioning.
“Chavan wants to clean the mess in the BMC. He also wants to push the ruling Sena-BJP to a corner before the civic elections early next year,” said a government official, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Kumar has previously served as excise commissioner and sales tax commissioner. He has also worked as textile commissioner and the chief of the Mumbai board of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority.