The man behind the machine: Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan Up Against Coronavirus in India
Dr Harsh Vardhan is also the Minister of Science and Technology, and Minister of Earth Sciences (May 2019 – Present). He is driving a medical and pharmaceutical workforce in India to fight the deadly Coronavirus in India.
Date of Birth: Vardhan was born on December 13, 1954.
Place of Birth: He was born in Delhi.
Parents: His mother is Sneh Lata and his father is Om Prakash Goel.
Spouse: He is married to Nutan and they have 3 children – a daughter and two sons.
Political Party: He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Prior to that, he had been a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) from childhood.
Education: He finished his schooling from Anglo Sanskrit Victoria Jubilee Senior Secondary School located at Daryaganj in 1971. After that, he went to the Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College in Kanpur. He graduated from this college in 1979 with an MBBS. In 1983, he earned his Master of Surgery in Otorhinolaryngology from the very same college.
Career: Apart from being a politician, he is an otolaryngologist (ENT surgeon). In the beginning, he held several positions in Delhi Medical Association, including the state secretary and president. His political career started in earnest in 1993 when he got elected to the state assembly for the first time. Dr Vardhan served as the Minister of Health and the Minister of Law in Delhi government. In 1996, he also became the Minister of Education. As the Minister of Health of Delhi, Vardhan conducted the successful pilot project of the Pulse Polio Programme in 1994. In this campaign, around 1 million children under 3 years of age were administered pulse polio vaccination. In 1995, this programme was launched all around India and 88 million children were immunized.
Subsequently, WHO (World Health Organization) declared India polio-free on March 28, 2014, as for 3 consecutive years prior to that, not a single case of polio was reported. In 1997, the Delhi assembly passed the Delhi Prohibition of Smoking and Non-Smokers Health Protection Act. This was in fact one of the first times that a state government in India had passed anti-tobacco laws. The act was applicable all across the NCT (National Capital Territory). It banned smoking in public places such as hospitals, educational institutions, restaurants, and public vehicles. It also stopped the sale of these tobacco products to anyone under 18 years old.
Political Milestones: After getting elected in 1993 as member of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi from the Krishna Nagar assembly constituency, he won from the same constituency in the next four state assembly elections conducted in 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013 as well. After being elected to the Delhi legislative assembly, he served in a number of ministerial posts. In the 2013 assembly elections in Delhi, BJP fielded him as its chief ministerial candidate.
On May 16, 2014, he became the Lok Sabha MP (Member of Parliament) from the Chandni Chowk constituency. On May 27, 2017, he was appointed the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and stayed in that position till May 24, 2019. On November 9, 2014, he also became the Union Minister of Earth Sciences and it was on the same date that he became the Union Minister of Science and Technology. On May 31, 2019, he assumed charge as the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Minister of Science and Technology, and Minister of Earth Sciences in Modi 2.0.