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.