Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme

 Children in the age group 0-6 years constitute around 158 million of the population of India (2011 census). These Children are the future human resource of the country. Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing various schemes for welfare, development and protection of children.

Launched on 2nd October, 1975, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is one of the flagship programmes of the Government of India and represents one of the world’s largest and unique programmes for early childhood care and development.

It is the foremost symbol of country’s commitment to its children and nursing mothers, as a response to the challenge of providing pre-school non-formal education on one hand and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, morbidity, reduced learning capacity and mortality on the other.

The beneficiaries

  • children in the age group of 0-6 years,
  • pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Objectives :

  • to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years;
  • to lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child;
  • to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout;
  • to achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development;
  • to enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education.
Services under ICDS

The ICDS Scheme offers a package of six services, viz.

  • Supplementary Nutrition
  • Pre-school non-formal education
  • Nutrition & health education
  • Immunization
  • Health check-up and
  • Referral services

The last three services are related to health and are provided by Ministry/Department of Health and Family Welfare through NRHM & Health system. The perception of providing a package of services is based primarily on the consideration that the overall impact will be much larger if the different services develop in an integrated manner as the efficacy of a particular service depends upon the support it receives from the related services.

For better governance in the delivery of the Scheme, convergence is, therefore, one of the key features of the ICDS Scheme. This convergence is in-built in the Scheme which provides a platform in the form of Anganwadi Centres for providing all services under the Scheme.

The delivery of services to the beneficiaries is as follows:

Services Target Group Service provided by
(i) Supplementary Nutrition  Children below 6 years,

Pregnant & Lactating Mothers (P&LM)

Anganwadi Worker and Anganwadi Helper [MWCD]
(ii) Immunization* Children below 6 years,

Pregnant & Lactating Mothers (P&LM)


[Health system, MHFW]
(iii) Health Check-up* Children below 6 years,

Pregnant & Lactating Mothers (P&LM)


[Health system, MHFW]
(iv) Referral Services Children below 6 years,

Pregnant & Lactating Mothers (P&LM)


[Health system, MHFW]
(v) Pre-School Education Children 3-6 years AWW
(vi) Nutrition & Health Education Women (15-45 years) AWW/ANM/MO
[Health system, MHFW & MWCD]

Positives Of ICDS

  • Reduce IMR
  • Reduce malnutrition
  • Better health


  • Coverage disparity across the state
  • Human resource shortage
  • Budgetary allocation has reduced
  • Corruption : oversee by local bodies
  • Failed to focus on female child {did not concentrated soecifically on pregnant women and female infanticide}
  • Quality compromise

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