Senior PMK leader Dr Anbumani Ramadoss walked down memory lane, recalling the highs and lows of his stint as health minister of the country in the UPA-1 government, at a function here on Sunday.
The occasion was the release of a booklet - Sadhanai Manidhar Anbumani Ramadoss - brought out by Pasumai Thayagam, an environmental NGO and sister organisation of the Vanniyar outfit. The booklet records Dr Anbumani’s achievements as the union health minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet from 2004-2009.
Recalling that he was just 36 years old when he took up the post, the PMK leader said that his father and party founder Dr S Ramadoss had only one advice to give him: “Ensure that whatever medical facilities the President of India enjoys, the common man too gets them.”
Narrating his experiences on the floor of the house, Dr Anbumani singled out the National Rural Health Mission as his most important achievement as minister. One of the key components of the mission was to provide every village with an accredited social health activist (ASHA), who was responsible for creating awareness about health, he said. “The programme brought down maternal and infant mortality rate in the country,” he pointed out.
The former minister also cited his “pet scheme” 108 emergency services, anti-tobacco measures and reservation for the Dalit community in the all-India medical entrance examinations as his other achievements.
Earlier, accepting a copy of the book from retired Madras High Court judge Justice K Chandru, who released it, former IAS officer M G Devasahayam called for a campaign against distribution of “government freebies” and sale of “government liquor” in the state. Justice Chandru appealed for introduction of total prohibition in the state.
PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss said that his party should be viewed more as a social movement than as a political outfit.