Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao given charge of Health portfolio
Hyderabad: Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao, who was also the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) election in-charge in Huzurabad, was given the additional responsibility of the Medical, Health, and Family Welfare portfolio in the state on Tuesday.
The decision was taken by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao and the governor Tamilisai Soundararajan. The Government Order was issued by the Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar assigning the health portfolio to T Harish Rao.
The GO quoted as read by The Hindu, "Under Clause (3) of Article 166 of the Constitution, the Governor of Telangana hereby allocates the portfolio of Medical & Health & Family Welfare to Sri T. Harish Rao, Hon'ble Minister for Finance, with effect from 09 November 2021."
The portfolio of Medical and Health was held by the Chief Minister till now, after the former Health Minister, Eatala Rajender was removed from the state cabinet.
According to a media report in The Indian Express, Rajender was stripped of the health portfolio on April 30 and removed from the post on May 1 following allegations that a company owned by his family had encroached upon the government-regulated lands.
After that, the CM had taken over the portfolio during the second wave of the Covid-19. However, Rao was given the responsibility of the department, at the time of managing the Covid-19 pandemic period even though CM was officially in charge of it.
Harish Rao had been campaigning against former Health Minister Eatala Rajender for the by-election in Huzurabad for over four months, however, the ruling party lost the seat to Eatala. Rao campaigned vigorously for party candidate Gellu Srinivas Yadav.
Times of India reports that, the present move is being termed by analysts as the Chief Minister's decision to recognize the efforts of party leaders irrespective of the election outcomes.
The bypoll took place after Rajender quit the ruling party TRS, who then decided to contest electorally by joining the BJP party.
According to officials, the CM had extended his attention to regular administrative work after the bypolls in Huzurubad. A senior government official told TOI, "There is an urgent need for a full-fledged health minister as the government is planning to construct four multi-speciality hospitals in four corners of the city, medical colleges and taking up other infrastructure development works in government hospitals."
T Harish Rao was given charge of the irrigation portfolio during the first term of the TRS government and was responsible for fast-tracking all irrigation projects including the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project and Mission Kakatiya scheme. During the second term, he was assigned to the finance department.
Last year, Harish Rao was made charge of the Dubbak by-election where the TRS lost to BJP. He was given the responsibility of party campaigning in the Hyderabad graduates MLC election in the Rangareddy district earlier this year.
According to a media report in The Hans India, many issues await the Health Minister including the ongoing development activities in the Department of Medical and Public Health, prevention of covid spread and providing ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased, approvals required from the Central inspection team for the establishment of eight medical colleges in the State scheduled to function from 2022, the construction of eight new district hospitals in the State and state-run diagnostic centres, etc. The work on strengthening the infrastructure in government hospitals and on the establishment of Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), set to be on par with facilities at AIIMS in Hyderabad are other cases the newly appointed minister need to focus on.