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Meet JP Nadda, man behind Indradhanush back to steer health agenda

Nadda is considered a key decision-maker in the BJP and a close aide of PM Narendra Modi. He has been the national president of the BJP since 2020 and a member of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat

Nadda, Jagat Prakash Nadda, JP Nadda

Photo: X@BJP4India

Sohini Das Mumbai

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After having relinquished the health ministry in 2019, the year before the onset of the pandemic, and moving to managing party affairs, J P Nadda, 63, is back in the same office.

Nadda has been entrusted also with the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, which houses the Department of Pharmaceuticals.

The Bihar-born politician, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, is a lawyer and has been a national-level swimmer. Nadda is considered a key decision maker in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has been president of the BJP since 2020 and a member of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.

Nadda’s return fuels speculation that the BJP may soon have a new president.

In his previous term as health minister, Nadda had launched “Mission Indradhanush”, which was aimed at covering by 2020 children who were either unvaccinated or were partially vaccinated against seven diseases -- diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles, and hepatitis B.

Under the scheme, select districts in which children had not been vaccinated or were partially vaccinated were targeted to improve immunisation.
It would be interesting to see how he spearheads the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccination programme, which is set to be part of the universal immunisation programme. HPV is responsible for causing cervical cancer in women.

Mission Indradhanush, sources say, was regularly reviewed by Modi and is considered to be one of his pet projects.

Another focus project of the BJP is the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), which is expected to receive a push from this government.

One of the immediate challenges that faces Nadda is implementing the revised Schedule M (to improve pharmaceutical quality systems) amid several incidents of substandard drugs exported by Indian companies abroad.

Nadda will also have to work closely with the pharma industry to implement the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices, 2024, which aims to curb unethical marketing of drugs and ban medical representatives from using inducements to access health care professionals.

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First Published: Jun 10 2024 | 8:41 PM IST

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