Integrated Child Development Service changing Tripura's rural life

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Agartala, Aug 25 : Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is creating a strong foundation for helping children in Tripura.

Active in more than 7000 centers across the state, it serves as a lifeline in rural Tripura.

ICDS, a program for all round development of the children was started in 1975 with only one project. Today, it is working from 7000 Anganwadi centers with 59 different projects.

"We go from house-to-house to ask mothers to send their children and to use the facilities provided by the centre. Along with the pre-school education and supplementary nutrition, we also provide health care facility to the children and mothers. Free medicines and immunization are also provided. The local people and the administration help us to achieve our targets," said Nayantara Debbarma, an Anganwadi worker.

The ICDS programme aims at improving the nutritional and health standard of children in the age group of 0 to 6 years. ICDS has been able to lay the foundation of a psychologically, physically and socially developed generation in Tripura.

"In Tripura, the ICDS is working for the upliftment of the tribal children and women," said Arun Debbarma, a program officer.

A Central Government sponsored program, ICDS has one Anganwadi center for every 500 people in urban Tripura and one for every 300 in the hilly tribal areas of the state.

"We not only send our children to this centre but come here for medical checkup and food which is given free of cost. It's a great help for poor people like us," said Baijanti Debbarma, one of the beneficiaries.

Kajal Debbarma, another beneficiary said, "At this centre, our children get pre- school education along with training and information about health. Here pregnant women and nursing mothers are provided free services like supplementary nutrition, health check up and immunization to improve the nutritional and health status of children up to six years of age."

With Tripura marching forward to achieve the goal of 'universalisation with quality', ICDS has achieved almost 100 per cent of its target in the state.

A few years back, the rural areas of Tripura were considered breeding grounds for militancy, but today militancy is on the verge of extinction. And it is the strong desire of the people for peace and normalcy that has made such programmes successful and given thumbs down to militancy.

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