Modi's Swachh Bharat man, Param Iyer calls it a day as sanitation secy

Parameswaran Iyer was keen to return to the US where he had spent several years working with the World Bank at its Washington office — a job he later quit to become road manager for his daughter, a professional tennis player
Parameswaran Iyer, secretary in the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, has resigned citing personal reasons, according to sources.  

Iyer, a 1981-batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS, was given a year’s extension in February to take on the task of providing drinking water to all households by 2024. He’s best known for spearheading Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Swachch Bharat Mission. 

Iyer, popularly called Param, is keen to return to the US where he had spent several years working with the World Bank at its Washington office - a job he later quit to become road manager for his daughter, a professional tennis player. 

An official said Iyer had attended a meeting with Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Monday, before news of his resignation became public. The PM is learnt to have accepted the resignation.  

Iyer, a sportsperson himself, was often referred to as the toilet man of India for his role in leading the Swachh Bharat Mission on ground to provide sanitation cover to all rural households. 


After taking voluntary retirement from the IAS in 2009, Iyer had a stint with the World Bank as water and sanitation specialist. 

Before he opted for retirement, Iyer had also 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 programme leader and sanitation specialist in 2016 that he was approached by the Indian government to take charge as the top gun at the drinking and sanitation department. 

Soon after, Iyer started monitoring his own performance on the whiteboard at work, adding numbers such as the number of swachhagrahis, districts, and villages that had became open-defecation free. He also kept a counter of the days spent at the desk. “I've always enjoyed these challenges where the goal appears difficult,” Iyer had said in an earlier interview to Business Standard.



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