Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat Mansukh Mandaviya has been appointed as the country’s new health minister. Mandaviya, a BJP leader from the Saurashtra region, replaced Dr Harsh Vardhan. The Gujarat leader was earlier serving as Minister of State (MoS) and held the independent charge of the Shipping ministry, besides the Chemicals and Fertilizers portfolio. He has been with the Modi government since 2016 and was first entrusted with Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Chemicals and Fertilisers ministries on July 5, 2016 as an MoS. When PM Narendra Modi returned with a massive mandate in 2019, he was again sworn in as MoS for Chemicals and Fertilisers with an independent charge of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
His political journey began as a member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly from 2002 to 2007. He then served as the chairman of Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation Ltd between January 2011 and March 2012. Mandaviya was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 2012 and served as a Member of the Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas between May 2012 and May 2014 and again from September 2014 to July 2016. Between September 2014 and August 2015, he was made a member of the Committee on Industry. Mandaviya also served on the National Welfare Board for Seafarers, and Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers from December 2014 to July 2016.
Mandaviya’s first brush with politics was as a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, ABVP, the student wing of the BJP and also served as Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Palitana from 1994-96. He was Taluka President of the Palitana unit of the BJP between 1998-2003.
Mandaviya, in his new role as Health minister, has his hands full. It was the government’s apparent failure to tackle the second wave of COVID-19 that cost Dr Harsh Vardhan his chair.
आज मैंने देश के स्वास्थ्य एवं परिवार कल्याण मंत्रालय के कैबिनेट मंत्री का पदभार ग्रहण किया। आदरणीय प्रधानमंत्री श्री @NarendraModi जी के स्वस्थ भारत के सपने को साकार करते हुए अथक जन सेवा के लिए कृतसंकल्पित हूँ। #HealthForAll #Govt4Growth pic.twitter.com/O8fEjPTwaU
— Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) July 8, 2021
Mandaviya now faces an uphill task of preparing the infrastructure necessary to combat the impending third wave of COVID-19. The government knows that he will be wat he’d closely on how he approaches the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mandaviya has also got a new deputy. Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar has succeeded Ashwini Kumar Choubey as the minister of state (MoS) for Health and Family Welfare.
Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, 42, is a first-time Lok Sabha member for Dindori in Maharashtra. She served as a member of Nashik zila parishad and worked towards eradicating malnutrition and providing clean drinking water to people. Before joining politics, she was a medical practitioner.
Mandaviya and Pawar were received by senior officers of the ministry, including Rajesh Bhushan, Health Secretary; Vandana Gurnani, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, NHM (MoHFW); Dr Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary (Health); Vikash Sheel, Additional Secretary (Health); Alok Saxena, Additional Secretary; Dr Sunil Kumar, DGHS (MoHFW); Arun Singhal CEO, FSSA, and other key officials.