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The subject of the discussion will be delivering large-scale transformational programs, impact on the ground, and the ABCDEF of implementation of such programmes in a large and diverse country like India. The discussion will draw on the learnings from the Swachh Bharat Mission, the world’s largest successful behaviour change programme, which drew over 55 crore rural Indians out of open defecation. The discussion will also cover “Method in the Madness: Insights from the career of an insider-outsider-insider”, the memoir of Parameswaran Iyer recently published by HarperCollins. In the book, he reflects on the unique path he has tread – from cracking the prestigious Indian Administrative Service to becoming a globe-trotting World Bank technocrat, to playing the role of a coach to his professional tennis-playing children, to finally returning to India and implementing the Swachh Bharat Mission.
Parameshwaran Iyer is currently the Global Lead for Strategic Initiatives in the World Bank’s Water Global Practice. Prior to this, he served as Secretary to the Government of India at the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (later, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the newly formed Ministry of Jal Shakti), from March 2016 until August 2020, and led the implementation of the flagship Swachh Bharat Mission. A former IAS officer, Iyer headed the innovative community-led Swajal Project in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the 1990s, has over twenty-five years of global experience in the water and sanitation sector, and has worked in many countries, including Vietnam, China, Egypt, and Lebanon. A fitness enthusiast, Iyer also served as road manager to his daughter and son on the pro tennis circuit during a two-year sabbatical from his professional career.
LK Atheeq is a senior IAS Officer (1991) from Karnataka cadre. He has 30 years of experience and is currently the principal secretary of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department. He has earlier held positions like principal Secretary to the chief minister of Karnataka, senior adviser representing India at the World Bank in Washington DC, joint secretary in the Prime Minister’s office. He has also worked as State Project Director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Director, Karnataka Rural Water & Sanitation, Agency. He was Deputy Commissioner of Hassan and Mandya, & CEO of Uttara Kannada district. He is passionate about sectors like decentralization, rural development, natural resources management, health & education. Has traveled extensively, likes poetry & music. Has translated Faiz Ahmed Faiz in Kannada. He is married to a software engineer from Mangalore and has two children.
Sunil Yajaman has been associated with Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association for a long time and has been involved with many big Tennis Events that Bengaluru has hosted like the WTA Tour event in 2007 in which Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic participated and many ITF & Davis Cups as the Tournament Director. Having taken a break from his professional Tennis career 6 yr ago, today he continues to serve the sport and provide his expertise as the Hon. Jt. Secretary of the organization and works with ACT Fibernet as the Head of Corporate Affairs & CSR. He has been closely associated with Mr. Parameswaran Iyer as a part of the development of both his children Tara & Venkat.
Rohini Nilekani is Founder-Chairperson, Arghyam, a foundation she endowed to fund initiatives for sustainable water and sanitation across India. From 2004 to 2014, she was Founder-Chairperson of Pratham Books, a non-profit children’s publisher. She is Co-founder-Director of EkStep, a non-profit education platform.
A former journalist writing for leading publications, she is also the author of “Stillborn” and “Uncommon Ground”, both published by Penguin Books India. In 2017, she was inducted as Foreign Honorary Member of the AmericanAcademy of Arts and Sciences.
As signatories of the Giving Pledge, Rohini and Nandan Nilekani have committed half their wealth to philanthropy.