Health minister Harsh Vardhan resigns ahead of Cabinet reshuffle
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Harsh Vardhan was handling three departments-- health, science and technology, earth sciences.
Union minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday resigned from the post of health minister ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's big Cabinet reshuffle. Harsh Vardhan's resignation comes soon after education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and labour minister Santosh Gangwar stepped down from their posts, making way for some big-ticket announcements as both education and health are crucial and challenging departments to fill in amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Pokhriyal, however, has cited ill health as the reason behind his resignation.
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This was Dr Harsh Vardhan's second stint as the health minister as he was in the post for seven months in 2014, after the PM Modi government came to power. From November 2014 to the end of the first term of the Modi government, JP Nadda was the health minister. In 2019, as the PM Modi government came back to power for the second time, Harsh Vardhan was given the responsibility of this department again.
During the pandemic, which proved to be a major challenge in Dr Harsh Vardhan's term as the health minister, he was also handling the responsibility of the science and technology and the earth sciences departments.
Harsh Vardhan, associated with RSS since childhood, completed his medical education from Kanpur University's Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College and from the same college, he got his master of surgery in Otorhinolaryngology. After completing his studies, he set up his practice as an ENT surgeon in Delhi and held several organisational posts in the Indian Medical Association.
Harsh Vardhan was Delhi's health minister in the '90s and played a crucial role in the Pulse Polio programme.
Harsh Vardhan's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has been criticised by the opposition, though on several occasions PM Modi praised his proactive role in fighting the pandemic. The health minister, who was also elected in WHO's executive board, was at loggerheads with states and state ministers who criticised the government's vaccine policy