Ranchi, Jharkhand | June | 30, 2021 :: The Atal Bihari Vajpayee Centre for Leadership, Policy and Governance, IIM Ranchi conducted a webinar on ” Leadership Series-2- Implementing Large Scale Transformative projects in India: Lessons for Young Professionals”
on June 29th, 2021 in virtual mode. The speaker for the webinar was Mr Parameswaran Iyer.
Mr. Parameswaran Iyer, who is a global technocrat, former Secretary to the Government of India and is best known for leading the implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship programme. It was the world’s biggest behaviour change programme to eliminate open defecation which later became the world’s largest sanitation revolution which was followed by other countries like China and Nigeria.
He spoke about the transformative mission of making India defecation free. Many people viewed toilets as impure and refrained from installing those within their household premises.
The 4 major grassroots problems while implementing the Swachh Bharat Mission was
1. Speed-changing the behaviour of 550 million was a tedious task.
2. Scale-Building a sense of urgency and avoiding drip into little approach.
3. Stigmas-Changing habits and beliefs people had for generations and
4. Sustainability- Making sure people don’t slip back into the old habit
For the effective implementation of the above problems, certain steps were taken. Every swachhagrhai, sarpanch were encouraged, campaigns were launched by eminent personalities like Amitabh Bachchan who helped to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation. The campaigns triggered a sense of pride and dignity for girls and women. Washrooms were renamed as ‘Izzatghar’ to change the mindset and bring leadership changes among people. The movie ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ helped people in bringing emotional changes. It helped in changing behaviour, beliefs, and myths around toilets and ensure sustained open defecation-free status in all communities across India.
The pillars of behavioural transformation were also changed by Political Leadership and Public Financing.
Mr Iyer’s personal life story is also inspirational. Speaking about his book “Method in the Madness” it reflects on the unique path he chose – from cracking the IAS 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 SBM (Swaach Bharat Mission). His book is an inspiring read full of key management insights, practical career advice, and valuable life lessons that will resonate with readers across age groups and professions.
Prof. Shailendra Singh, Director of IIM Ranchi graced the occasion and congratulated Mr. Iyer for his remarkable feat in Swach Bharat Mission. He has prescribed his book “Method in the Madness “as non-academic reading among students. He further added that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Centre aims is to disseminate the knowledge from great administrators to the world.
Prof. Aditya Shankar Mishra provided an introduction to the speaker. He said that Mr. Iyer is the artefact for being a fundamental change in the country. Prof. Gaurav Marathe coordinated the Q and A session for the participants. The webinar was concluded with a vote of thanks by Prof. Angshuman Hazarika. He expressed his sincere thanks and gratitude to Mr. Iyer for sharing his experience.