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Swacch Bharat Mission: Making India open defecation free; experts discuss framework of the scheme

Updated : February 26, 2021 08:46 PM IST

Making India open defecation free by October 2, 2019, was a promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the ramparts of the Red Fort in 2014. To drive this big goal of implementing the world's largest sanitation programme -- the Swacch Bharat Mission, the government chose to enlist the services of a former bureaucrat.

This marked the return of Parameswaran Iyer to the government and to India, as secretary at the Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation in 2016, on a two years contract, which is perhaps one of the most high profile lateral appointments in the recent past.

With three and a half years to deliver on the Prime Minister's promise, Param Iyer, had to bring to bear both his ‘sarkari’ and ‘specialist’ skills while playing crisis manager, trouble shooter, communication manager and most importantly a believer.

Iyer's book ‘Method In The Madness’, not only provides a behind the scenes account of what it took to drive this mega mission, but also gives us an insight into the complexities and challenges of governing India.

It also puts on the table ideas that could help make the civil services more relevant, efficient and responsive to the future needs of the country.

To discuss the matrix for building an organisation or a programme to last, navigating India’s federal structure and encouraging a robust public private partnership model, is the author himself.

Also, CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan spoke to former telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan; Sanjeev Chopra, Director of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA); and Amit Chandra, Chairman and Managing Director at Bain Capital PE.

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