Integrated Child Development Scheme(ICDS)

About ICDS

  • Launched in 1975, Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is a unique early childhood development programme.
  • It aims to address malnutrition, health and development needs of children (0 to 6 years), and pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • The Centrally Sponsored Scheme is anchored by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD).
  • ICDS consists of 4 different components as shown in the following figure
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  • The Anganwadi Services (under ICDS) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and the Government of India releases grants-in-aid to the States / UTs s presently on the following cost-sharing ratio between Centre and States/UTs:
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Objectives of the Scheme

  • Institutionalise essential services and strengthen structures at all levels:
    • Implementing ICDS in Mission mode to prevent undernutrition
    • Strengthen ICDS- AWC as the first village post for health, nutrition and early learning
    • Focusing on children under 3 years
    • Focusing on early child care and learning environment
    • Moving from outlays to child-related outcomes
    • Fostering decentralisation and community based locally responsive childcare approaches –
  • Enhance capacities at all levels:
    • Vertical integration of training of all functionaries to strengthen field-based joint action and teamwork to achieve desired results and objectives
    • Establish national training resources centres at Central & State levels
  • Ensure appropriate inter-sectoral response at all levels:
    • Ensure convergence at the grassroots level by strengthening partnerships with PRIs, Communities, and Civil Societies to improve Child development services
    • Coordinate and network with all Government & Non- Government Organisations providing services for children
  • Raise public awareness and participation:
    • Strengthen maternal and child care, nutrition and health education
    • Raise public awareness at all levels about the vulnerabilities of children
    • Inform beneficiary groups and the public about the availability of core services
    • Promote social mobilisation and voluntary action
  • Create a database and knowledge base for Child development services:
    • Strengthen ICDS Management Information System (MIS)
    • Use Information, Communication Technology (ICT) to strengthen the information base and share & disseminate information
    • Undertake Research and Documentation

Convergence of Different Ministries & Schemes

The Ministries involved in convergence with ICDS are given in the figure below

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Issues associated with ICDS

  • Poor Utilisation of Services: as per NFHS 3, only 32.9% of children used any AWC services. Only 26.5% of children had received Supplementary Nutrition and only 12% regularly received it.
  • Inadequate Anganwadi workers: most of the Anganwadi centres are being handled by only one Anganwadi worker
  • Pooer infrastructure: A disconcerting 2.5 lakh centres operate without functional sanitation facilities and 1.5 lakh centres lack access to potable water. Approximately 4.15 lakh Anganwadi centres do not possess their own pucca building.

Way forward

  • Two worker norm for each Anganwadi centre
  • Improve reporting mechanism
  •  Abn packaged food for the 3-6 year group
  • Increase the involvement of Panchayats/mothers’ group
  • Grading AWCs 
  • Learn from the international experience of Thailand which succeeded in improving child nutrition between 1980 and 1988 and reduced child malnutrition (underweight) from 50 per cent to 25per cent.

Mains Practice Question

In your opinion how far integrated child development scheme has succeeded in delivering its promises? Critically analyse. (250 words, 15 Marks)

2 thoughts on “Integrated Child Development Scheme(ICDS)

    1. ICDS is an umbrella scheme for the well-being of children(0 to 6 years) pregnant women and lactating women, which focuses on the nutrition of all beneficiaries and preschool education of children, while Poshan is subscheme under ICDS which focuses on the Nutrition of the beneficiaries. There are many other schemes under ICDS as well like PM Matritva Vandana Yojana etc.

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