Shripad Yesso Naik, is an Indian politician and the member of the parliament from North Goa constituency for the fifth consecutive term representing Bharatiya Janata Party. He is the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) and Minister of State for Defence. He held various portfolios in the union cabinet of Health & Family Welfare , Tourism , Culture , Finance , Roads Transport & Highways in the past beginning the first BJP led NDA government by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ( 1999-2004).
Shripad Naik was born in a middle-class family of the Bhandari community on 4th October 1952 at village Adapai, North Goa District, Goa. He was born to Yesso Bhikari Naik and Jayshri Yesso Naik. He grew around the ancestral business of sand which was extracted from the river and bring it out on boats and making ropes from a coconut at home.
He completed his primary education in Adpai and Talaulim, followed by a middle school in Shri Saraswati High School, Kavlem, Ponda. At the age of 13, he got the responsibility of running the family business. In the morning, he would go by school bus to school and in the afternoon have lunch on the boat itself and continue the family business work. He shifted his sand business to Sapendra, Old Goa to complete his graduation from Dhempe college of Arts and Science, Miramar, Panaji Goa.
He was an all-rounder in the field of sports and is an NCC ‘C’ certificate holder with the Best Cadet award. His favorite hobbies are Kirtan- Pravachan and watching regional dramas. Those days he used to visit different villages with his friends on a bicycle to pursue his hobbies. For studies, he used to sit often in boats that used to come for repairs or in school verandah or in Pandurang Swami Math or any in another peaceful place. If he couldn’t study in the morning time, he would sit under the Kerosene lamp at night and study.
Impressed by the enthusiasm of learning and the hard work involved, a friend from Panaji gifted Shripad an old Lambretta scooter which he used for education, business, and Sangh work. He completed his graduation from Bombay University and later decided to enter into the politics. He is married to Vijaya Naik and the couple has three sons. He speaks Konkani, Marathi, Hindi & English.
A businessman by profession, Shripad Yesso Naik started his political career as a member of Durbhat village panchayat in 1983 and became sarpanch in 1984 and continued till 1993 for nine years. In 1994 He was elected as a member of Goa legislative assembly from Madkai. Also he was General Secretary of the BJP in Goa. Soon, he rose to the position of the party president.
In 1999, he was elected to the 13th Lok Sabha from Panaji constituency in Goa. The same year he was made a member of the Standing Committee on Transport and Tourism and a member of the consultative committee for Ministry of Rural Employment. He held various portfolios in the union cabinet such as Health & Family Welfare , Tourism , Culture , Finance , Roads Transport & Highways in the past beginning the first BJP led government by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ( 1999-2004).
During his political career, Naik has occupied many important positions in the government. He was a member of the consultative committee in the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Urban Poverty Alleviation. The journey from the State Union Minister to the Minister in Modi’s cabinet was long and not easy for Naik. It was his determination that led him to this position.
As of 2019, he has held his seat in this constituency winning in 1999,2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019 elections. In 2014 Lok Sabha Election won with a margin of 105000 votes which is a very high margin for a small state of Goa. An MP from Goa North, Shripad Yesso Naik was made the Minister of State ( independent charge ) for the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture in Narendra Modi’s inaugural cabinet in 2014.
After assuming charge as the Tourism Minister in the newly-formed NDA government, Naik said that “The efforts of the new tourism ministry will be directed at developing tourism infrastructure in the country so as to provide a boost to the sector”. He further added that the visa and security issues will be taken care of and the tourism sector will be developed in such a way that a tourist feels secured while coming to India. “There are some incidents in the past that have created a bad name for the country. We need to address that; a tourist should feel safe here,” he said. Hailing from Goa, a popular tourist destination, he is well aware of the problems the tourists face. In order to encourage tourism in the country, Naik recently said that all the impediments that restrict the flow of tourists in the country will be removed. Talking to the media, he said that the security of tourists will be the priority for his ministry.
Shripad Naik was appointed Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, on 9 Nov 2014 and further continued as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH along with the portfolio of Minister of State for Defence on 31 May 2019 in the second term of Modi Government. In the 2019 elections, he contested again from North Goa and won the seat with a comfortable margin.
Ministry of AYUSH formed on 9th November 2014 took up many initiatives in all core areas of AYUSH sector in the last four years, spearheaded by Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State (Independent Charge). Reforms and quality enhancement have been undertaken in education, health care delivery, drug development, research and public health with definite steps towrds mainstreaming AYUSH systems.
He received the Samaraj Ratna Award on 18 August 2016.