The tobacco products can no longer be sold near Anganbadi Centers in Rajasthan. The director of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), in a fresh order released to deputy directors and child development project directors, said like different health facilities and education institutes, the Anganbadi centers from on is being declared 'tobacco free'.
The move comes in order to comply with the rules of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).
As per the order issued by Shuchi Sharma, ICDS director, all Anganbadi centers will be developed as 'tobacco free' zone, where any use of product or pan masala by any visitor or employee is banned.
"Anganbadi Centers are the place that belongs to children between age of 0-6 years, mothers and pregnant women. Hence, it is necessary to keep these centers tobacco free to save them from ill effects," the order issued by ICDS director read.
There are around 68,000 Anganbadi centers in Rajasthan. As per the order, any sell or advertisement and display of any tobacco product has been banned within 100 yards of Anganbadi Center and signage boards of 30X60 cm size, bearing warning will have to be displayed at each center. Order allows use of untied fund available at village health sanitation and nutrition committee.
"It is a big step forward for public health in the state," Priyanka Lodha, programme officer at Vaagdhara, an NGO working for tobacco free Rajasthan said. "Effective implementation and enforcement of COTPA near Anganbadis will ensure safety of our children and mothers from ill effects of tobacco. The government should take measure to control the availability of tobacco products by coming up with a vendor licensing policy to sell tobacco products," she added.