Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dr Harsha Vardhan – How Solid Is He ?

Just when Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, speaking to the reporters last week on 17th August while inaugurating the yoga research laboratory at the Swamy Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Smsthana in Banglore, said the he wants to keep healthcare free from political influence the news of AIIMS chief vigilance officer (CVO) Sanjiv Chaturvedi being dismissed by him without giving any reason on Thursday is doing rounds. There are strong speculations that politics was involved in making this decision. Otherwise why the same ministry of health and family welfare who in the year 2014 accentuated that AIIMS was an autonomous institution and vouched for Chaturvedi's absolute integrity and called him an outstanding officer is now saying that he was removed because he was not eligible for the post. Also Vishwas Mehta who has now replaced Chaturvedi was the one who gave him clean chit when BJP general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP, JP Nadda, had raised objections to Chaturvedi's appointment in the year 2012. While the Aam Aadmi Party is demanding the resignation from Harsh Vardhan and also issued a statement that failing this, PM Narendra Modi should sack the minister for shunting out the “whistleblower officer” it is for the CVC to decide the eligibility of a person for the post of CVO not the government.sanjeev chaturvediOn one hand where Chaturvedi in his two years stay in AIIMS had busted many a scam involving top AIIMS officials, Dr Harsh Vardhan says that he is not at all eligible for the post that he was holding at AIIMS as they were informed that without the approval of the central vigilance commission (CVC) nobody can be assigned the post of CVO anywhere. This was brought to their notice and hence taking cognizance to the same they removed him from the post. The question is why it took 2 years for him to realize this? Chaturvedi was to work till 2016 if he was not dismissed. Modi had recently said in a statement that he will not allow anyone to indulge in corruption and loot and when Chaturvedi was identifying such people the news of his dismissal has come. However the BJP is also washing its hands off by defending the government's decision saying that Chaturvedi was ineligible and that there was no witch-hunting. "He was an IFS (Indian Forest Service) officer. He was not eligible for the post and the CVC has not ratified it," party spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.Harsha Vardhan 2Dr Harsha Vardhan who has always publicly admitted that Politics should in no way affect the health programme and policies of the country believes that for the health of the nation the health of government departments needs to be improved. He is doing all his efforts by visiting states that are not being ruled by the BJP government and successfully developing close friendships with them. Whomever he met he told them that though the government is of any party their aim should be not to allow any kind of politics to affect and interfere the health programmes and policies. Back in the year 1994 when he was the Delhi’s Health Minister had had urged hundreds of school children to become Polio Sainiks with the task of seeking out families with small children who needed polio immunization. This was implemented on 2 October, 1994 which was the first pulse polio day in Indian history and today polio is eradicated from our country.Harsha Vardhan 1Recently in a letter he has written to several states and union territories to discuss the concern of easy availability of tobacco products in various forms though strict restrictions have been taken on their sale. He launched an anti-tobacco website which kicked off a campaign showcasing the plight of a cancer victim. He has in fact asked Defense Minister to ban cigarettes from army canteens and has also had asked the Finance Minister Mr Jaitley to hike prices of tobacco products in this year’s budget. He says tobacco consumption costs actually result in a loss of Rs 1.04 lakh crore a year due to increased healthcare costs and higher taxes will be one measure the center can take to control this.Harsha Vardhan 2Harsh Vardhan was born in Delhi to Om Prakash Goel and Sneh Lata. He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and got his Master of Surgery in Otorhinolaryngology in 1983. Since childhood he has been a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He is married to Nutan and they have two sons and a daughter.

Dr. Vardhan as the State Minister of Health in 1994 oversaw the successful implementation of the pilot project of the Pulse Polio Programme which involved the mass immunization of 1 million children up to the age of 3 in Delhi. He was named as the Chief Minister candidate for Delhi Assembly elections that were held October 2013 however BJP did not win the majority. In 2014 lok sabha elections he contested from Chandni Chowk seat and defeated Kapil Sibal of INC and later was announced as the Minister of Health and Family Welfare in May this year.Harsha Vardhan 4Dr Vardhan is credited with steadfastly uniting various factions in Delhi BJP and leading the party's aggressive campaign for Lok Sabha polls in which it recorded a clean sweep. Apart from being an effective minister he also proved his organizational capabilities by rebuilding the BJP's operations in Delhi from scratch after the party's defeat in the 2003 Assembly Election. It was under his leadership that BJP was able to win all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi. Also during his Minister ship in the Delhi government people had found him remarkably accessible and officials respected him for his hands-on style of functioning. Under his leadership in April 2007 party won the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and in 2008 the Delhi Cantonment Board election. Now with the Delhi Assembly election fast approaching chances of BJP winning and forming the government are growing. With the ability of making BJP win in unpredictable situations soon this will be reality.HarshaWith an excellent track record without any controversies and working on critical issues like eradicating polio and bringing in awareness about the fatal effects of smoking Dr Harsha Vardhan has set an example for others. But whether his decision to remove Chaturvedi had come due to pressure? Was he forced by superior officials to take this step? Only time will answer these questions.

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