Veeravalli Sundaram Sampath on Monday took charge as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in the Election Commission of India and said his immediate task will be to conduct the Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections.
Sampath succeeded Y S Quraishi who demitted office following an almost two-year term as the head of the poll panel.
"The immediate task on hand is the conduct and completion of the election to the high offices of the President and the Vice-President of India," Sampath said while addressing a press conference on Monday.
He is the 18th Chief Election Commissioner of the country and will preside over the crucial Lok Sabha elections in 2014. He was appointed as the CEC by President Pratibha Patil last week.
Quraishi, who turned 65 on Sunday, was given a warm send-off by officials of the Commission at a simple function.
Quraishi was appointed Election Commissioner in the poll body on June 30, 2006 and assumed charge as the 17th CEC on July 30, 2010 replacing Navin Chawla.
Highlights of Veeravalli Sundaram Sampath´s career:
Veeravalli Sundaram Sampath joined Indian Administrative Service in 1973 and held important positions in the Government of Andhra Pradesh as well as Government of India.
While in his parent cadre, Sampath worked as District Collector and held similar field positions in many Districts of Andhra Pradesh between 1975 to 1986, a stint which gave him strong grounding in public administration and policy implementation at the grass-root level.
He also held very important posts, such as Managing Director in Apex Co-operative Bank, Handloom Marketing Society, and Oil Seeds Federation in Food and Public Distribution Department, Industries Department and Finance Department between 1986 to 1989.
Sampath held several crucial postings in Government of Andhra Pradesh between 1990 and 2004. He held important positions, such as Secretary in Agriculture Department, Managing Director of Godavari Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited.
Furtheron, as Principal Secretary in Energy Department, he played a crucial role in ushering in the power sector reforms in Andhra Pradesh, a move which opened up the sector for the private sector and demonstrated how effective governance and reforms could help the growth, reduce AT&C losses and improve efficiencies.
He then served as Principal Secretary Finance before moving to the Government of India.
In the past few years Sampath held several important postings in Central Government. Starting with a stint in the Union Ministry of Rural Development.
In 2005, Sampath was appointed as Director General, National Institute of Rural Development. Subsequently, he held the post of Secretary, Chemicals and Petrochemicals where he was pivotal in conceptualizing and implementing the PCPIR policy to help the growth of the Petrochemical sector in India by facilitating massive investments in the identified Regions.
Later, he also served as Secretary, in the Central Power Ministry, where he was instrumental in implementing several forward-thinking policies to aid the sector.
Among them was Restructured-Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP), a mega-package for the renovation and modernization of Indian power utilities to help them improve their performance.
At the Election Commission
Sampath joined as Election Commissioner in the Election Commission of India on 21st April, 2009 after N.Gopalaswami demitted office, during the course of the General Elections 2009. He assumed charge of Chief Election Commissioner of India on 11th June 2012.