Launched on 2nd October 1975, today, ICDS Scheme represents one of the world’s largest and most unique programmes for early childhood development. ICDS is the foremost symbol of India’s commitment to her children – India’s response to the challenge of providing pre-school education on one hand and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, morbidity, reduced learning capacity and mortality, on the other. 1. Objectives: The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme was launched in 1975 with the following objectives: i.to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years; ii.to lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child; iii.to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout; iv.to achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development; and v.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. 2. Services: The above objectives are sought to be achieved through a package of services comprising: i.supplementary nutrition,
v.pre-school non-formal education and
vi.nutrition & health education.
The concept 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 related services. ServicesTarget GroupService Provided by
Supplementary NutritionChildren below 6 years:
Pregnant & Lactating Mother (P&LM)Anganwadi Worker and Anganwadi Helper Immunization*Children below 6 years:
Pregnant & Lactating Mother (P&LM)ANM/MO
Health Check-up*Children below 6 years:
Pregnant & Lactating Mother (P&LM)ANM/MO/AWW
Referral ServicesChildren below 6 years:
Pregnant & Lactating Mother (P&LM)AWW/ANM/MO
Pre-School EducationChildren 3-6 yearsAWW
Nutrition & Health EducationWomen (15-45 years)AWW/ANM/MO
*AWW assists ANM in identifying the target group.
Three of the six services namely Immunisation, Health Check-up and Referral Services delivered through Public Health Infrastructure under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. 2.1 Nutrition including Supplementary Nutrition: This includes supplementary feeding and growth monitoring; and prophylaxis against vitamin A deficiency and control of nutritional anaemia. All families in the community are surveyed, to identify children below the age of six and pregnant & nursing mothers. They avail of supplementary feeding support for 300 days in a year. By providing supplementary feeding, the Anganwadi attempts to bridge the caloric gap between the national recommended and average intake of children and women in low income and disadvantaged communities. Growth Monitoring and nutrition surveillance are two important activities that are undertaken. Children below the age of three years of age are weighed once a month and children 3-6 years of age are weighed quarterly. Weight-for-age growth cards are maintained for all children below six years. This helps to detect growth faltering and helps in assessing nutritional status. Besides, severely malnourished children are given special supplementary feeding and referred to medical services. 2.2 Immunization: Immunization of pregnant women and infants protects children from six vaccine preventable diseases-poliomyelitis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, tuberculosis and measles. These are major preventable causes of child mortality, disability, morbidity and related malnutrition. Immunization of pregnant women against tetanus also reduces maternal and neonatal mortality.