Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan resigns ahead of Cabinet Reshuffle

In an astonishing move, the Union Government has planned to conduct a 'mega' reshuffle and an additional step taken to create a Ministry of Co-operation to bolster cooperative activities across the country. A batch of resignations happened hours ahead of the planned reshuffle at 06:00 PM IST on Wednesday. More resignations are expected to happen before the oath-taking ceremony scheduled at Rashtrapati Bhavan, as per sources.

Source: DD News

In the first-ever massive shuffle of Cabinet and expansion of Ministry headed by Narendra Modi as Prime Minister since the start of his second term in May 2019, several ministers have tendered their resignations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank,' who cited health reasons. Other ministers have largely remained silent about their decision.

"Dr. Harsh Vardhan's resignation comes when the country is reeling under the after-effects of the Second-wave of COVID-19 and the massive criticisms from the State Governments on the Centre's management of the COVID-19 Pandemic."

The COVID-19 Pandemic proved to be a major challenge in Dr. Harsh Vardhan's term, who was also handling the portfolios of Science and Technology and the Earth Sciences. Dr. Harsh Vardhan holds a Masters's in Surgery in Otorhinolaryngology and have been practicing as an ENT Surgeon in Delhi, and have held several organizational posts in Indian Medical Association. A former Minister of Health of New Delhi - Dr. Harsh Vardhan has played a crucial role in the Pulse Polio Programme in the 1990s.

Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', under whom the National Education Policy was drafted and released, who turned down the position shortly before Harsh Vardhan, cited health reasons who tested positive for COVID-19 on April 21 and admitted to AIIMS in June again following post-COVID complications.

Thawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, will no longer be a part of the Cabinet as he is appointed as Governor to the State of Karnataka. Minister of State for Woman and Child Development Debasree Chaudri has resigned along with other junior ministers, namely Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Ratan Lal Kataria, and Raosaheb Dhanve.

D V Sadananda Gowda, Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, has also tendered his resignation. Also, Santosh Gangwar, Minister for Labour, has quit the current Cabinet ahead of re-shuffles. The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo, has also tendered the resignation. He thanked PM Narendra Modi through a Post on Facebook:

"I am extremely happy that I go without a spot of corruption on me, having served my constituency with all my might"

— Babul Supriyo, Asansol MoP and Minister of State for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change

According to ANI, 43 leaders will take oath as Union ministers in the Cabinet expansion at 06:00 PM at Rashtrapati Bhavan today. Some other news sources mentioned that the Council of Ministers will have a balanced representation from the other backward classes, age, and region and the average education will also be higher with more "PhDs, MBAs, Post-Graduates, and professionals."