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Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Author: Vaibhav Goyal, IV Year of B.A.,LL.B(Hons), from University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University (SSGRC, HSP.), Chandigarh.

“Aap wahin hai na jo IAS chhod ke bhaag gaye the? (Aren’t you the person who ran away from the IAS?)”

-Parameswaran Iyer recalls his first interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Former secretary Parameswaran Iyer, who was accountable for Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), has written in his soon to be launched chronicle, 'Method in the Madness', that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the 'guaranteed winner' in the mission for the mission and that he was deliberately utilized as the

"communicator-in-boss" to interest the country to join the unrest.

A Srinagar-born child of an Indian Air Force official, a graduate of St Stephen's school who played for India at the Junior Davis Cup, Parameswaran Iyer is a previous IAS official who is presently assembling the enormous number of toilets on the planet. He additionally has a place with the clique of Indian super civil servants like T.N. Seshan, Amitabh Kant, and K.J. Alphons. Every one of them is mission-mode stars of a lethargic administration.

Much the same as T.N. Seshan changed how the Election Commission was run and built-up trust in its autonomy, and Amitabh Kant told us the best way to advertise India as an objective through his Incredible India crusade, Param Iyer will perpetually be related with individuals' development Swachh Bharat has become.

Regardless of whether it was getting into a twin-pit and cleaning the dried excreta, or getting entertainer Akshay Kumar to front the mission, Iyer has made the Swachh Bharat Mission his resolute interest. Iyer motivates a lot of faithfulness among his g enerally youthful staff. In any case, he additionally moves esteem among his companions and seniors. Kant, CEO of Niti Aayog considers him an "extraordinary official".

"He is continually moving, venturing out too far-off regions, observing, assessing, strategizing conveyance on the ground."He is an uncommon official who can convey testing undertakings of gigantic size and scale like the Swachh Bharat Mission," says Kant.

Not that the objective was simple. In 2014, when the Prime Minister discussed toilets from the Red Fort, 61% of Indians were all the while pooing in the open. "The Swachh Bharat transformation has had the option to bring 55 crore individuals out of open defecation."The utilization of toilets has gone up by 90%," Param Iyer as noted in one of the interviews, considering it a powerful operation.

Parameswaran Iyer has constructed 11 crore toilets all over India in 60 months, making a multitude of six lakh swachhgrahis to convey forward the Swachh Bharat thought and roused more than 600 talented, youthful experts (Zila Swachh Bharat Preraks) who are financed by Tata Trusts.

While serving his home framework, Iyer took willful retirement from the job in 2009. He was brought back as Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary in 2016 on an authoritative premise when the service was attempting to quicken Swachh Bharat Mission. The Center had given two addenda to Iyer till April 30, 2021.

Iyer, famously called Param, is quick to get back to the US where he had gone through quite a long while working with the World Bank at its Washington office – a task he later quit to become a street manager for his girl, an expert tennis player. Iyer, a sportsperson himself, was regularly alluded to as the toilet man of India for his part in driving the Swachh Bharat Mission on the ground to give disinfection cover to every country family.

In the wake of taking honorary retirement from the IAS in 2009, Iyer had a spell with the World Bank as a water and sanitation subject matter expert. Before he decided on retirement, Iyer had likewise worked with the Mayawati government in UP in the field of education. It was during his term at the World Bank's Hanoi office in Vietnam as a program pioneer and disinfection expert in 2016 that he was drawn closer by the Indian government to assume responsibility as the top firearm at the drinking and sanitation division.

While the PM's discourse was likewise weighed down with acclaim for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, it was this rare motion by the Prime Minister to perceive Iyer's accomplishments and devotion that took the cake.

In 2017, the public authority, in an uncommon case, selected him as Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, which assumes a vital part in the public authority's aspiring Swachh Bharat activity. Known for his sanitation activities, Iyer is most likely the first civil service official to have been designated to the post in the service rather than a serving IAS official.

The Prime Minister featured during his discourse at the Swachh Bharat Diwas occasion on 2 October in Ahmedabad that albeit provincial India has been announced open-defecation free (ODF), this is just an achievement in a constant excursion. Conduct change must be supported on a persistent premise, and moving from ODF to ODF-in addition to joining strong and fluid waste administration will be the following objective for the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The Appointments Committee of Cabinet had affirmed the arrangement of Iyer on an agreement for two years a year ago. Iyer, 56, filled in as Senior Rural Water Sanitation Specialist at the United Nations between April 1998 and February 2006. This suggestion likewise intrigued PM Modi who made extraordinary notice of this episode during his Mann Ki Baat program.

He likewise filled in as the program chief and Lead Water and Sanitation Specialist in the Hanoi office of the World Bank. Already, Iyer worked in Washington on Egypt and Lebanon and as the Bank's Water Expert before that.

"To feel that in 2014, India added to above and beyond half of the world's open crap trouble with more than 600 million open defecators, to turn out to be open-defecation free in 2019 is a declaration of what exactly can be accomplished if a group rallies behind a reason."No acclaim is sufficient for the PM's declaration of that immense, venturesome objective, being the breeze at our backs, and for being the SBM's communicator-in-boss", Iyer cited.

The Jal Jeevan Mission has its own massively aggressive objective of conveying funneled water supply to all family units by 2024.

In Iyer's own words, "no past government had at any point horizontally enlisted an ex-government employee at the degree of secretary to the Government of India". It was a chance Iyer, who was then working at the World Bank, snatched right away.

After four years, with his task finished, Iyer by and by quitting the public authority to return to the World Bank in 2020.

Iyer reviews his staff being scandalized by his "non-Sarkari" way of working; he would arrive at the workplace at 8.30 am. On his first day at work, he advised his chief private secretary to eliminate the letters I.A.S. from the board outside his office.

In the days that followed, Iyer redid his group at the service, handpicking a "team of devotees" to accomplish the inconceivable assignment of building a 56 percent sanitation inclusion in rustic India in around three years. While 40,000 towns in India had been announced ODF at that point, Iyer's objective was 6 lakhs.

Iyer worked with four clergymen during his term — Chaudhary Birendra Singh, Narendra Singh Tomar, Uma Bharti, and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, every one of whom he had a decent working relationship with. Notwithstanding, he was liable for the conveyance of the SBM to the "Large Boss himself", PM Modi.

Alluding to this gathering as the "town elderly folks", Iyer expresses: "Keeping them drew in and associated with the essential parts of the SBM not just guaranteed that they confided in me to chip away at my terms without miniature administration, but on the other hand was consoling in that we were all on a similar frequency, on the off chance that issues emerged."

Eventually, after the effective fruition of SBM, Iyer contends that he progressively started feeling a feeling of "disappointment". While he doesn't intricate any further, he says that in the weeks after India was announced ODF by Modi, he felt that the time had come to give up the reins to another person and spotlight on his family back in the US.


  • Kaveree Bamzai, Modi’s favourite Parameswaran Iyer belongs to the cult of super IAS officers like TN Seshan, The Print, October 06, 2019

  • Aastha Ahuja, Parameswaran Iyer From World Bank Shares The ‘ABCDEF’ Of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan And India’s ODF Journey, NDTV, December 10, 2020

  • Aman Sharma, Modi trump card behind swachh mission, says former secretary Parameswaran Iyer, The Economic Times, January 05, 2021

  • Parameswaran Iyer, A personal chronicle of Swachh Bharat Mission, Hindustan Times, August 20, 2020

  • Amita Shah, Parameswaran Iyer: A Clean Man, Open the Magazine, April 25, 2018


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