Parameswaran Iyer

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Parameswaran Iyer
The Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer addressing at the National Review Meeting of National Rural Drinking Water Programme.jpg
3rd CEO of NITI Aayog
Assumed office
1 July 2022
Preceded byAmitabh Kant
Personal details
Born (1959-04-16) 16 April 1959 (age 63)
Alma materThe Doon School
St. Stephen's College, Delhi
OccupationCivil Servant
Known forLeading the Swachh Bharat Mission

Parameswaran Iyer (born 16 April 1959) is an Indian civil servant and the current CEO of NITI Aayog.[1] He led the Swachh Bharat Mission, the country-wide sanitation campaign initiated by the Government of India in 2014.[2][3] He entered the Indian Administrative Service in 1981 and took a voluntary retirement in 2009 to join the water and sanitation initiatives at the World Bank.[4] He served as the Global Lead for Strategic Initiatives in the World Bank's Water Global Practice.[5] 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.[6]

Early life[edit]

Parameswaran was born in Srinagar and his father was an Indian Air Force officer.[7] He was educated at The Doon School in Dehradun, and at the St. Stephen's College, Delhi.[8] As a student of St Stephen’s college he represented India at the Junior Davis Cup in Tennis. He then got a one-year exchange scholarship at Davidson College in North Carolina.[9]


Iyer joined the Indian Civil Services in 1981. In 2009, he took a voluntary retirement to become the water resources manager at the World Bank. At the World Bank he worked in China, Vietnam, Egypt, Lebanon and Washington.[10]

In 2016, he joined the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, and was appointed by Prime Minister Modi to spearhead the Swachh Bharat Mission and Sanitation and water Management campaigns related to it.

He also served as a Professor of Management Practices at Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad.

He has been a columnist with the Indian Express.[11]

Swacch Bharat Mission[edit]

In 2016, he was appointed by the Government of India to implement Swachh Bharat Mission, the country-wide sanitation campaign to eliminate open defecation and improve solid waste management.[12] Iyer's modus operandi to achieve the strict goals under the mission (building 110 million toilets in 5 years) was unconventional and "non-bureaucratic" [2] which increased efficiency and delivery and led to the success of the program.

In 2019, India was declared as Open defecation free on Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birthday Anniversary. India built 100 million toilets in about 0.6 million villages, and another 6.3 million in its cities.[13] A UNICEF study estimated that a household in an ODF village saves an average of up to Rs 50,000 annually on such expenses as treatment of illnesses.[14] The biggest success of the program was to bring behavioural change at grassroot level through awareness campaigns and mass contact programmes.

During his stint at the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Iyer had entered a twin-pit toilet to empty it at a Telangana village in 2017 to help residents overcome the taboo of cleaning toilets. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called the act remarkable during one of his Mann Ki Baat programmes.

The Prime Minister singled him out for praise on another occasion, at a function addressing ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ volunteers in Bihar’s Champaran in 2018.[15]

Jal Jeevan Mission

He was also given the additional charge of another of the Prime Minister’s pet project, the Jal Jeevan Mission, with the goal of providing piped water supply to all households by 2024 through integrated water supply management at the grassroots.

In 2020, Iyer had resigned from the position and returned to the United States to join the World Bank and be close to his family.[16]

He served as the CEO and Manager of the 2030 Water Resources Group, a public-private-civil society partnership hosted by the World Bank, Washington DC.

In 2022, he returned to Indian Administration as the head of Government of India's apex think tank NITI Aayog.[1]


  • Iyer, Parameswaran. Method in the Madness. Harper Collin. ISBN 978-9390327560.[17]
  • Iyer, Parameswaran (2019). The Swachh Bharat Revolution: Four Pillars of India's Behavioural Transformation. Harper Collin. ISBN 978-9353572679.[18]


  1. ^ a b "Parameswaran Iyer appointed new CEO of NITI Aayog". India Today. June 24, 2022. Retrieved 2022-06-24.
  2. ^ a b Dhingra, Sanya (January 31, 2021). "Parameswaran Iyer, Modi's IAS man for Swachh Bharat, reveals how the mission was achieved".
  3. ^ "How Swachh Bharat Mission's Parameswaran Iyer Got His Dream Job". February 26, 2021.
  4. ^ "Parameswaran Iyer". World Economic Forum.
  5. ^ "Parameswaran Iyer". HarperCollins Publishers India. Retrieved 2022-06-24.
  6. ^ Chitravanshi, Ruchika (July 27, 2020). "Modi's Swachh Bharat man, Param Iyer calls it a day as sanitation secy" – via Business Standard.
  7. ^ Bamzai, Kaveree (October 6, 2019). "Modi's favourite Parameswaran Iyer belongs to the cult of super IAS officers like TN Seshan".
  8. ^ Raj Chengappa (December 20, 2019). "The Swachh Yogi". India Today.
  9. ^ Iyer 2021, p.1
  10. ^ "Parameswaran Iyer | Indian Economy".
  11. ^ "Parameswaran Iyer". October 30, 2019.
  12. ^ Sharma, Aman. "Modi trump card behind swachh mission, says former secretary Parameswaran Iyer" – via The Economic Times.
  13. ^ "ODF India is an immense achievement, but it must be made sustainable: CSE". Retrieved 2022-06-24.
  14. ^ "Parameswaran Iyer: A Clean Man". Open The Magazine. 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2022-06-24.
  15. ^ "Parameswaran Iyer, ex-bureaucrat who ran Swachh Bharat Mission will be new NITI Aayog CEO". Hindustan Times. 2022-06-24. Retrieved 2022-06-24.
  16. ^ "Swachh Bharat key player Parameshwaran Iyer quits government". July 27, 2020 – via
  17. ^ "Method in the Madness". HarperCollins Publishers India.
  18. ^ "The Swachh Bharat Revolution". HarperCollins Publishers India.

External links[edit]