Dr. P.D. Vaghela, has been appointed as the next chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Dr. Vaghela will be taking over from Dr. R.S. Sharma, who retires on September 30, 2020.

The appointments committee of the cabinet approved Dr. Vaghela’s appointment for a three-year period or till he attains the age of 65 years. Prior to his appointment as the TRAI chairman, Dr. Vaghela was the secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), under the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers.

Dr. Vaghela is a 1986 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, and has served as commissioner of commercial tax in Gujarat playing a crucial role in the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) in 2017. More recently, he was chairman of the Empowered Group-3, which was responsible for production, procurement, import and distribution channels of medical gear amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Commenting on the appointment, Lt Gen Dr. SP Kochhar, director general (DG), Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said, “We heartily welcome Dr. P. D. Vaghela as the new TRAI, chairman and look forward to working with him for taking forward the telecom industry’s critical role in nation-building. The industry is keenly looking for the leadership and support of the regulator and government for creating a more stable regulatory environment which is essential for further growth of the digital services sector. This is essential to enable the realisation and timely achievement of the government’s targets specified in the National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018.”