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Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forest and Climate Change has a long and distinguished record of public service, leaving his indelible mark in all fields of activity undertaken. An ENT surgeon by profession to start with, Dr. Vardhan branched out into public life in 1993, when he got elected to the Delhi Assembly from the Krishna Nagar constituency in east Delhi. This marked the beginning of a scintillating run in electoral politics, which saw him getting elected to the Delhi Assembly for four more successive terms (1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013) and to the Lok Sabha in 2014 from the Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi.

Dr Vardhan’s public life has been marked by standout achievements in the fields of health, education, law, science & technology and environment. He was instrumental early in public life, through his mass, country-wide campaign, in wiping out polio from the face of India.Subsequently, he 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 & Non-Smokers Health Protection Act to tackle these problems. Subsequent to this the Supreme Court directed all states to replicate this law and 12 States enacted similar laws. He for the first time implemented the Rational Drug Policy which was recognised by the WHO as the Delhi Model and was adopted by many countries.

Stellar record: His track record as a Union Minister from 2014 onwards has been stellar. At the helm of the Ministry of Science & Technology, Dr Vardhan’s focus has been to motivate the country’s scientists to come up with new technologies, processes and products that can provide innovative solutions to people’s problems. He has made it a point to visit all the labs and research institutions under his Ministry to motivate the scientists working there to achieve greater heights. He is committed to setting up a roadmap for the implementation of the ‘Make in India’ programme, for building a robust R&D infrastructure and promoting synergies between industry and scientific research institutions. At the Ministry of Environment, he has been instrumental in planting the seeds of a mass movement to make the protection and preservation of the environment the concern and goal of every citizen. Fondly called ‘Doctor Saahab’, Dr Harsh Vardhan is known for his disarming simplicity in personal life and transparency at the workplace. He is also held in high esteem by officials for his hands-on style of functioning. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee once said of him, “He joined politics with the laudable objective of using his considerable medical knowledge and experience for serving the common man.”

Early Life: The second child of the late Om Prakash Goel and Snehlata, Dr Vardhan was born on December 13, 1954. He has an older sister and a younger brother. The young Harsh Vardhan had his schooling in the Anglo-Sanskrit Victoria Jubilee Senior Secondary School in Daryaganj, which is one of the oldest educational institutions in northern India, founded in 1869. Later, he decided to become a doctor and attended GSVM Medical College in Kanpur from where he cleared his MBBS and MS with specialisation in ENT.