In the midst of a serious health crisis, Mansukh Mandaviya was appointed as the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare after Prime Minister Narendra Modi carried out a Union Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, 6 July.
Mandaviya succeeded Dr Harsh Vardhan, who tendered his resignation ahead of the oath-taking ceremony.
Vardhan, who was excluded from the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, had headed the Modi government's fight against the coronavirus during the first and second surges and defended the central government's precarious policies.
He stepped down from the crucial post amid speculations of gross mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to taking charge as the health minister, Mandaviya was the MoS for chemicals and fertilisers ministry and held the independent charge of shipping and waterways.
A Youth Leader
Born in a small village, Hanol, in Gujarat's Palitana district, Mandaviya attended a government primary school and finished schooling from Songadh Gurukul.
Following this, he completed his education from Bhavnagar University with a master's degree in Political Science and started his political journey.
The 49-year-old took active interest in politics from a young age and was made the state executive committee member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) of the Gujarat unit.
Mandaviya then went on to be appointed as the leader of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the BJP's youth wing and presided over the party's Palitana unit.
At 28, the Parliamentarian was elected from Palitana constituency
and became the youngest MLA in Gujarat.
Becoming a Union Minister
In 2012, Mandaviya served his first term as a member of Rajya Sabha.
Mandaviya's entry in the CoM came in 2016, when he was given the post of Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Chemicals and Fertilisers.
He was then re-elected to Rajya Sabha two years later.
In 2019, he was sworn in as MoS for Chemicals and Fertilisers with an independent charge.
Social Work, UNICEF Honours
During his time as a political leader, Mandaviya organised padyatras (foot marches) for social causes.
As an MLA, he organised two marches, of 123 km and 127 km each to spread awareness on girls' education – in tandem with the 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' and 'Vayasan Hatao' movements.
With notable contributions towards the implementation of 'Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana' (PMBJP), Mandaviya is accredited with setting up over 5,100 Jan Aushadhi stores to provide over 850 kinds of medicines at affordable rates.
He was also responsible for the efforts behind cutting down cost of heart stents and knee implants.
Mandaviya has been recognised by the UNICEF for his contribution towards the cause of women's menstrual hygiene.
In 2019, as part of the celebrations for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary, Mandaviya participated in a 150 km long padyatra – 'Gandhi Mulyo Na Marge' (On The Path of Gandhian Values) – aimed towards the promotion of basic education.