Parameswaran Iyer: Man Who Led Swachh Bharat Is New Niti Aayog CEO

The government on Friday appointed former drinking water and sanitation minister Parameswaran Iyer, who led the Swachh Bharat mission, as CEO of top think tank Niti Aayog.

He will take over from Amitabh Kant, who will resign from office on June 30.

Iyer, 63, has been appointed for two years or until further orders, whichever is sooner, the human resources department said.

According to the order, Iyer’s appointment was made under the same conditions as those applicable to Kant. Iyer will head the think tank at a time when frictions are apparent between the center and opposition-ruled states on many social and economic issues. He will play a key role alongside newly appointed Niti Aayog Vice-President Suman Bery to lay the groundwork for concerted action for higher growth in sustainability, job creation, education, ease of living and agricultural reform.

Iyer, a 1981 IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, is a well-known sanitation specialist, who has led India’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission and the National Rural Drinking Water Program. In 2009 he voluntarily retired to join the World Bank’s water and sanitation initiatives. He was the Global Lead for Strategic Initiatives in the World Bank’s Water Global Practice. In 2016, he returned to India and was appointed by the government to head the drinking and sanitation department and lead the Swachh Bharat mission.

He has more than 20 years of experience in the water supply and sanitation sector. He is known for initiating and executing the industry’s ‘Swajal Programme’, among others. During his time at the World Bank, he has also worked in Vietnam, China, Egypt and Lebanon.

Outgoing CEO Kant played a key role in Niti Aayog’s policy making, with a focus on Atal Tinkering Labs, an ambitious district program, digital India, monetization, divestments, electric vehicles, etc. He is the longest serving CEO of Niti Aayog from February 17, 2016, to June 30, 2022.

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