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Parameswaran Iyer: Man who ran Swachh Bharat is new Niti Aayog CEO

Iyer, 63, has been appointed for two years or till further orders, whichever is earlier, the department of personnel said.

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.
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.

The government on Friday appointed former drinking water and sanitation secretary Parameswaran Iyer, who steered the Swachh Bharat Mission, as the CEO of top government think-tank Niti Aayog.

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

Iyer, 63, has been appointed for two years or till further orders, whichever is earlier, the department of personnel said.

According to the order, Iyer’s appointment has been made on the same terms and conditions as were applicable for Kant. Iyer will steer the think-tank at a time when frictions are visible between the Centre and Opposition-ruled states on many issues, social and economic. He will play a key role along with recently appointed Niti Aayog vice-chairman Suman Bery to lay the ground for collaborative action for higher growth with sustainability, creation of jobs, education, ease of living and reforms in agriculture.

A 1981-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, Iyer is a well-known sanitation specialist, who led India’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission and the National Rural Drinking Water Program. He took voluntary retirement from service in 2009 to join the water and sanitation initiatives at the World Bank. He served as 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 over 20 years of experience in the water supply and sanitation sector. He is known for initiating and implementing the “Swajal Program” among other initiatives in the sector. During his stint 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 policymaking, with a focus on Atal Tinkering Labs, aspirational district programme, digital India, asset monetisation, disinvestment, electric vehicles, etc. He is the longest-serving CEO of Niti Aayog from February 17, 2016, till June 30, 2022.

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