Harsh Vardhan to take charge of Health Ministry on Monday
New Delhi: Doctor-turned-politician Harsh Vardhan will again lead the Health Ministry, almost five years after he was relieved of its charge.
According to sources in the minister’s office, he will take charge of the ministry on Monday.
Vardhan will also continue to hold Science & Technology and Earth Sciences portfolios.
He was appointed as the Union Health minister in May 2014 and was later given the charge of the Ministries of Earth Sciences and Science and Technology.
J P Nadda had held the portfolio in the outgoing cabinet.
Vardhan was given the additional charge of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in May 2017, after the demise of Union minister Anil Madhav Dave.
The sixty-four-year-old was re-elected to Lok Sabha from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk seat, with a margin of over 2 lakh votes this time.
Vardhan as an environment minister initiated the Green Good Deeds Movement in 2018 in which he appealed to organisations and the people to take small positive actions to strengthen the cause of environmental protection.
Under his leadership, the environment ministry also launched the National Clean Air Programme that aims to reduce toxic particulate matter by 2024.
In his tenure as science and technology minister, Vardhan faced flak for his off-the-cuff comments.
In the Indian Science Congress held in Manipur in 2018, Vardhan had claimed that cosmologist Stephen Hawking had said the Vedas have a theory that is superior to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
For this remark, he had faced criticism from the scientific community.
During his tenure as the health minister of Delhi from 1993-1998, he had undertaken a polio prevention programme which was emulated at the national level. He was awarded the Director-General’s Polio Eradication Champion Award Commendation Medal by the World Health Organization in 1998.
Vardhan was at the forefront of the battle against tobacco and drug abuse and was instrumental in the enactment of several laws, including the Delhi Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places and Non-Smokers Health Protection Act, to tackle these problems.
Subsequent to this, the Supreme Court had directed all states to replicate this law and 12 states enacted similar laws.
He had for the first time implemented the Rational Drug Policy which was recognized by the WHO as the Delhi Model and was adopted by many countries.