Ghulam Nabi Azad

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Ghulam Nabi Azad
Ghulam Nabi Azad.jpg
Minister of Health and Family Welfare
Personal details
Born 7 March 1949
Spouse(s) Shameem Dev Azad

Ghulam Nabi Azad (born 7 March 1949, in Jammu and Kashmir, India) is an Indian politician from the Indian National Congress and the current Minister of Health and Family Welfare[1]

He was the Parliamentary Affairs Minister of India in the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh until 27 October 2005, when he was appointed as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. After delivering victories in several key states, including Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the 'crisis manager' of the Congress surprised many when he led the party successfully in the 2002 Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir.

Azad's forte is his organisational skills, having been the AICC general secretary for a record nine times and member of the powerful Congress Working Committee for 18 years, perhaps the longest period among the current leaders.[citation needed][weasel words]

Political career[edit]

As a Union minister, he steered successive Congress governments to victory in 21 no-confidence motions including the minority government of P. V. Narasimha Rao in the early 1990s.

Azad's first political assignment was the Block Congress Committee secretary in Bahlesa Distt Doda in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district, his native place.

In 1980, he was appointed as the President of the All India Youth Congress, the first from the minority community.

After being elected to the Seventh Lok Sabha from Maharashtra's Washim (Lok Sabha constituency) in 1980, Azad entered into the Central government as Deputy Minister in charge of Law, Justice and Company Affairs Ministry in 1982.

Subsequently, he was elected to the Eighth Lok Sabha in 1984 and became a Rajya Sabha member in 1990. During Rao's government, Azad took charge of Parliamentary Affairs and Civil Aviation ministries.

In June 2008, Azad's government announced plans to transfer land to the board of a Hindu shrine. Many Muslims were angered by this decision and protested, leading the government to cancel the transfer; however, this reversal provoked Hindu protests. Seven people were reported killed in violence that accompanied these protests. The People's Democratic Party, a coalition partner of the Indian National Congress in Jammu and Kashmir, withdrew its support for Azad's government, and rather than attempt to sustain his government by requesting a vote of confidence, Azad resigned on 7 July 2008,[2] and left office on 11 July 2008.

In the second United Progressive Alliance Government, led by Dr. Manmohan Singh, Mr. Azad, was sworn in as the Health Minister of India. He has said, that he shall be expanding the National Rural Health Mission, that has mobilized half a million health workers, all across India, and that his ministry would also be launching a similar National Urban Health Mission, to serve the slum dwelling urban poor.[citation needed] He has advocated a late marriage age of between 25 and 30, especially for girls, and has asked people, to watch television, instead of producing children.[citation needed]


Ghulam Nabi Azad's tenure as Union Heath Minister was marked by some notable controversies.

In 2014, Keshav Desiraju, then-Union health and family welfare secretary, was suddenly ousted by the Health ministry. Desiraju was involved in a corruption investigation against Ketan Desai, former head of Medical Council of India, and his sudden ouster by the Health ministry created widespread outrage. According to some media reports, the ouster was carried out due to pressure from Azad.[3]

In February 2014, Ghulam Nabi Azad, claimed that Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has "no conclusive information" which links high prevalence of respiratory or other diseases caused by air pollution. His comments were in response to the issue of severe air pollution in Delhi. Azad's comments were panned by several environmentalists and health experts, including Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Anumita Roychowdhury from CSE said that "[Azad's] official denial of mounting evidence, both locally and globally, is holding up action against air pollution in the country and aggravating public health risk."[4]

Personal life[edit]

He married Shameem Dev Azad, a well known Kashmiri singer, in 1980, and they have a son Saddam Nabi Azad and a daughter Sofiya Nabi Azad.[5][6][7][8]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Anbumani Ramadoss
Minister of Health and Family Welfare
April 2009–present
Preceded by
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
Succeeded by
President's Rule