The government has appointed World Bank’s water and sanitation specialist, Parameshwaran Iyer, as the new Secretary of the Drinking Water and Sanitation Department.
Ignoring the case of serving bureaucrats, Iyer, World Bank’s Practice Manager for Water for the South Asian region , has been given the post by PM Narendra Modi for two years to steer the Swachh Bharat Mission.
56-year-old Iyer is a key architect of the framework of the $1,500 million proposed loan from World Bank for the Swach Bharat Mission which is pending Cabinet approval.
Iyer’s appointment is expected to create more synergy between the Swachh Bharat Mission and the objectives of the World Bank project . An IAS officer of the UP cadre, who launched Jal Suraj program here, Iyer took voluntary retirement in 2009 and joined the World Bank. Before that, he worked with the UN World Food Programme (UNWFP) for nearly a decade till 2006 as a Senior Rural Water Sanitation specialist on foreign assignment. He was then served a show-cause notice by the Indian government to return and he quit in 2009.
The PMO is said to be not happy with the progress on Swachh Bharat Mission by the Drinking Water and Sanitation Department. The Previous Secretary of the department, Vijay Joshi, took voluntary retirement on November 21 last year after being hand-picked by the Modi Government to head this crucial department on October 1, 2014 just a day ahead of launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014.