The eastern state of West Bengal is the nations fourth most populous, with more than 91 million inhabitants. The capital and largest city of the state is Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), the seventh largest populous city in India. (Census of India, 2011)
West Bengals most important industrial belt runs along the Hoogly River in north and south of Kolkata. The other significant industrial regions include the ones along the Damodar River, steel plants at Durgapur and Burnpur, a locomotive plant at Chittaranjan and Haldia, the terminus of an oil pipeline from the state of Assam and the site of a large oil refinery, also has a petrochemical industry.
Other important manufacturing sectors include ships, automobiles, chemicals and fertilizers, wagons, electronics, paper and cotton textiles. The state also has a large number of small scale and cottage industries.
West Bengals forest area is 11,879 sq km which is almost 13.4 per cent of its total geographical area.( http://www.westbengalforest.gov.in). Part of the worlds largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, is located in southern West Bengal.
West Bengal has seven per cent of Indias total child population and children represent 35 per cent of the states total population. The state is home to 32 million children, of whom 73 per cent, or 23 million, live in rural areas and 27 per cent, or 8.7 million, live in urban areas.
West Bengal has managed to keep its rates of infant, neonatal and maternal mortality and mortality of children aged less than five years much below the national average, but there are regional disparities and a huge urban-rural divide. Moreover, while the states neonatal mortality is lower than the national average, it still remains to be a key challenge to achievi
Challenges and Opportunities
Need to address high levels of child undernutrition and anaemia in all age groups in time bound and mission mode. This would also need multi sectoral approach throughout the life cycle from adolescent to pregnancy to early childhood focussing on 1000 days.
Urban malnutrition is a growing area of concern as the growth of urban poor has resulted in unplanned development of cities, poor health and hygiene infrastructure and lack of development of services.
Need for improving quality of education through teachers training, filling vacancies and effective functioning of School Management Committees
UNICEF in Action
UNICEF has been providing continued technical support to the Government of West Bengal in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of the State Plan of Action for Children (SPAC) (2014-18) as well as the District Plan of Action for Children (DPAC) (2014-18) in Malda and Purulia districts of West Bengal.
The State Plan of Action for Children (SPAC) (2014-18) for West Bengal was published and launched by the Chief Minister on Dec. 16, 2014 in the presence of the MoS (IC) WCD and other dignitaries.
Through the SPAC and DPAC, the Government, in collaboration with UNICEF and key civil society partners, aims at promoting the holistic development of women and children in the state in a time-bound manner, by lowering maternal and child mortality, reducing open defecation, improving the nutritional status of women and children,