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A Tribute

Ramaswamy R Iyer

Ramaswamy R Iyer was a civil servant but he was constantly posing questions to accepted wisdom on issues relating to water. His body of work and frequent interventions on matters of public policy relating to water came to represent an alternative view that lays stress on efficient use, respect for the environment and finding solutions to water conflicts. Officialdom had no use for him but his imprint on how to think about water will be permanent.

Ramaswamy R Iyer, an eminent scholar, activist and policymaker, former secretary to the Government of India and then Honorary Professor with the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, illuminated our understanding on water, ecology and environment:

When I was appointed as Secretary Water Resources in June 1985, I brought a fairly conventional frame of mind to the job, but started learning from the first day. Within two months I knew enough to feel that a major change was called for, and that as a first step a national water policy was necessary... By the time I retired from the government my thinking had changed considerably, but the learning process was far from complete. It continued beyond my retirement and is still continuing.

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