Rahul Khullar to be new TRAI Chairman

New Delhi: The government is understood to have approved the appointment of Rahul Khullar, at present the Commerce Secretary, as Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Khullar, a 1975 batch IAS officer of Delhi cadre, would succeed J S Sarma, sources said. Sarma`s tenure ended today.

Khullar will head TRAI at a time when the regulator is in the line of fire of telecom operators for its recommendations on spectrum auction in which it has proposed steep high base price for radio waves due for action before August 31. The new TRAI chief will have to deal with the telecom industry which is widely divided.

While GSM operators, through their association COAI, have alleged the latest TRAI recommendation are favourable to those operators which provide dual technology services, the latter have alleged that TRAI has ignored various issues resulting into big benefit for the old GSM players.

As Commerce Secretary, Khullar, 59, is credited with trade normalisation between India and Pakistan. He had been successful in implementing measures that helped exports cross USD 300-billion mark in 2011-12. He has also negotiated well India`s stance at WTO and various other multilateral pacts.

Former DIPP Secretary R P Singh, Defence Production Secretary Shekhar Agarwal, Fertiliser Secretary Ajay Bhattacharya, Former DoT Member (Technology) Chandra Prakash, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Subodh Kumar, former Secretary (Defence Finance) Indu Liberhan and Vijayalakshmi K Gupta were also in race for the post.