Mathi Vathanan
Principal Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Odisha, India


Mr. G. Mathi Vathanan is the Principal Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Government of Odisha in India. Since 2023, has been a member of the Advisory Board for IWA’s Inclusive Urban Sanitation initiative.

As Principal Secretary, he leads a variety of initiatives, including the Jaga Mission, which provides slum dwellers with land rights and upgrades, and the 24X7 DRINK FROM TAP WATER SUPPLY programme, which offers every urban household direct access to clean drinking water. His approach of a decentralised strategy with community partnership has become a central aspect of the Odisha model of urban governance. His initiatives have earned recognition, such as the World Habitat Awards in 2019 and UN Habitat World Habitat Awards in 2023. 

Under his guidance, Odisha has achieved 100% water supply house connections in 105 cities out of 115, with 24 cities to date achieving a 24×7 Drink Directly from Tap Quality water supply system. Furthermore, he is promoting city-wide inclusive sanitation in all 115 cities in Odisha. His work has been recognised globally, including the Global Water Leader Distinction Award given to WATCO at the Global Water Summit in Spain in 2022 and WRI: Ross Prize for Cities Award, 2022 for the Urban Wage Employment scheme.