The 49-year-old is among the seven ministers promoted to Cabinet rank on Wednesday

Mansukh Mandaviya has taken charge as India’s new Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday, a day after Harsh Vardhan resigned from the Council of Ministers.

Mandaviya has joined the country’s Covid-19 fight at a critical time when the government is working on a strategy to stave off a third wave of infections by ramping up vaccinations.

Notably, in the past six days, Mansukh Mandaviya, as Minister of State for Chemicals and FertiIizers, visited the facilities of three vaccine-makers in the country - Serum Institute of India in Pune, Zydus in Ahmedabad and a Covaxin-producing facility in the same city.

The 49-year-old parliamentarian from Gujarat is among the seven ministers promoted to the Cabinet on Wednesday. He retains the Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry.

Mandaviya studied veterinary science at the Gujarat Agricultural University and later completed a Master’s degree in political science.

He began as a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and rose through the ranks in the BJP. At 28, Mandaviya became the youngest MLA in 2002.

In 2012, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.

He joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government first in 2016. He was Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Chemical and Fertilizers.

Before Mandaviya, Harsh Vardhan was the union health minister. Vardhan, 66, resigned on Wednesday.

Harsh Vardhan was leading the government's fight against the pandemic which killed thousands in April-May and left the health care system reeling.

Vardhan, an ENT specialist and MP from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, replaced JP Nadda and became the new minister of health and family welfare in 2019.