Manoj Soni, a former Vice-Chancellor of two universities in Gujarat, was on May 16 sworn in as the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
Mr. Soni was already serving as the Chairman in charge since April 2022. He had joined the UPSC as a member in June 2017. He is a monk of the Anoopam mission, a branch of the Swaminarayan movement.
The UPSC conducts the civil services examination to select officers of elite services such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) and over two dozen all-India services that form the backbone of the country’s administrative structure.
The Commission is headed by a Chairman and it can have a maximum of 10 members. It continues to have vacancies even after Monday’s appointment of two members: B.B. Swain, Secretary, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), a Gujarat-cadre IAS officer, and Suman Sharma from the Income Tax cadre of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
Mr. Soni served as the Vice-Chancellor of M.S. University of Baroda from April 2005 to April 2008. Prior to his appointment, he was teaching in the S.V. Patel University in Vallabh Vidhyanagar, Gujarat.
In 2009, he was appointed the Vice-Chancellor of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University (BAOU), Gujarat for two terms till 2015.
Mr. Soni is a scholar of political science with a specialisation in international relations. He earned his doctorate on “Post-Cold War international systemic transition and Indo-U.S. relations” from Sardar Patel University.
In 2020, he became a monk or nishkam karmayogi (selfless worker) after he became a follower of the Anoopam Mission of the Swaminarayan movement in Gujarat.