Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Mansukh Mandaviya, on Wednesday took oath in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new cabinet as the Union Health Minister. Mandaviya took the reigns of the Union Health Ministry from Harsh Vardhan as the country battles against the COVID-19 pandemic. He was also given the charge of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers again.
He earlier served as minister of state for ports, shipping and waterways and minister of state for chemical and fertilisers. He was inducted in the Union council of ministers as a Minister of State in 2016. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2012 and re-elected in 2018. He became the Chairman of Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation in 2011 when Modi was the Chief Minister.
Born in a middle-class farmer family in a small village Hanol in the Palitana taluka of Saurashtra’s region Bhavnagar district, Mandaviya became the youngest MLA at the age of 28 years in 2002. His love for animals led him to study veterinary science at the Gujarat Agricultural University’s Dantiwada campus. He later did his masters in political science.
He is known for his padyatras where he covers long distances on foot for a noble cause connecting villages and spreading awareness. He organized his first yatra as a legislator in 2005 when he walked 123 km through 45 educationally backward villages in Palitana to advocate girls’ education. His second yatra was in 2007, under the theme ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ and ‘Vyasan Hatao’ wherein he covered 127 km criss-crossing 52 villages.
In 2019, he undertook a week-long Padyatra to propagate the ideology and values of Mahatma Gandhi. The 150-km route of the yatra covered 150 villages.
He is an active participant of Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) and in May 2019, he was honoured by the Unicef for his contribution to women’s menstrual hygiene.