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New Delhi:

Once praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the central government, here on Monday, accepted the resignation of retired IAS officer Parameswaran Iyer from the post of Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti.

The resignation of Iyer, who returned from the US to head India’s ambitious cleanliness drive ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ (SBM), will be effective from August 21.

In 2017, the government had appointed Iyer on a two-year contract (which has ended) as the Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, which plays a key role in the SBM.

Known for his sanitation initiatives, Iyer, probably, is the first former bureaucrat to have been appointed to the post instead of a serving Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.

Iyer, a 1981 batch UP cadre IAS official, played a major role in the implementation of Jal Jivan and Jal Shakti missions, which aim to tackle issues of water conservation and water supply to households across the country.

Iyer had taken voluntary retirement, about nine years ago, to take up a World Bank job in the sector. He worked as Senior Rural Water Sanitation Specialist at the UN between April 1998 and February 2006.

Praising Iyer, Modi at an event last year had said he returned from the USA on his call to work for the SBM.

He also worked as the programme leader and Lead Water and Sanitation Specialist in the World Bank’s Hanoi office. Previously, he had worked in Washington, Egypt and Lebanon as the World Bank’s Water Anchor.

Known as ‘Param’ among his World Bank colleagues, Iyer is credited with initiating and implementing the “Swajal Programme” and other initiatives and has over 20 years’ experience in the sector.

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