Child’s Play

India Today - - STATES - in­B­ty­erR­naoth­ioin­taPlean­rvi­ihroan­r­ment,

Chief min­is­ter Va­sund­hara Raje’s ini­tia­tive of re­vamp­ing some 61,000 an­gan­wadis—state-run day care cen­tres that cater to a mil­lion pre-school chil­dren be­tween three and six years old—is clearly a win­ner. Launched in June 2016, the scheme in­volves bring-ing toys, clothes and books to poor chil­dren in the an­gan­wadis through pri­vate con­tri­bu­tions from in­di­vid­u­als, vol­un­tary groups and cor­po­rates.

Ac­cord­ing to Ra­jasthan’s women & child devel­op­ment sec­re­tary Kuldeep Ranka, 7.5 mil­lion items were re­ceived and dis­trib­uted to an­gan­wadis across the state in the first six months of the scheme. “Our fo­cus has been to in­volve the com­mu­nity as much as pos­si­ble,” the of­fi­cer says. “So in a lot of vil­lages, lo­cals have also been mak­ing small con­tri­bu­tions.” It’s no won­der then that there have been 350,000 fresh en­rol­ments at the cen­tres in the last half year, lead­ing to a re­vi­sion of the state gov­ern­ment’s tar­get of chil­dren in an­gan­wadis to 1.5 mil­lion.

Some district ad­min­is­tra­tions have also ex­tended the scheme to in­clude older chil­dren by set­ting up or strength­en­ing li­braries with con­tri­bu­tions of books.


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