Integrated Child Development Services (India)
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) (Hindi: समेकित बाल विकास सेवाए), Government of India sponsored programme, is India's primary social welfare scheme to tackle malnutrition and health problems in children below 6 years of age and their mothers. The main beneficiaries of the programme were aimed to be the children below 6 years of age, pregnant and lactating mothers, and adolescent girls. The gender promotion of the girl child by trying to bring her at par with the male child is a key component of the scheme. 
Majority of children in India have underprivileged childhoods starting from birth. The infant mortality rate of Indian children is 44 and the under-five mortality rate is 93 and 25% of newborn children are underweight among other nutritional, immunization and educational deficiencies of children in India. Figures for India are substantially worse than the developing country average.
Given such a daunting challenge, ICDS was first launched in 1975 in accordance to the National Policy for Children in India. Over the years it has grown into one of the largest integrated family and community welfare schemes in the world. Given its effectiveness over the last few decades, Government of India has committed towards ensuring universal availability of the programme.
The predefined objectives of ICDS are:
- To raise the health and nutritional level of poor Indian children below 6 years of age
- To create a base for proper mental, physical and social development of children in India
- To reduce instances of mortality, malnutrition and school dropouts among Indian Children
- To coordinate activities of policy formulation and implementation among all departments of various ministries involved in the different government programmes and schemes aimed at child development across India.
- To provide health and nutritional information and education to mothers of young children to enhance child rearing capabilities of mothers in country of India
- To provide nutrirional food to the mothers of young children & also at the time of pregnancy period .
Scope of Services
The following services are sponsored under ICDS to help achieve its objectives:
- Supplementary nutrition
- Health checkup
- Referral services
- Pre-school non formal education
- Nutrition and Health information
For nutritional purposes ICDS provides 300 calories (with 8-10 grams of protein) every day to every child below 6 years of age. For adolescent girls it is up to 500 calories with up to 25 grams of protein everyday.
Delivery of services under ICDS scheme is managed in an integrated manner through Anganwadi centres,[Note 1] its workers and helpers. The services of Immunisation, Health Check-up and Referral Services delivered through Public Health Infrastructure under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. UNICEF has provided essential supplies for the ICDS scheme since 1975. World Bank has also assisted with the financial and technical support for the programme. The cost of ICDS programme averages $10–$22 per child a year. The scheme is Centrally sponsored with the state governments contributing up to 1.00 (1.7¢ US) per day per child.
Furthermore, in 2008, the GOI adopted the World Health Organization (WHO) standards for measuring and monitoring the child growth and development, both for the ICDS and the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). These standards were developed by WHO through an intensive study of six developing countries since 1997. They are known as New WHO Child Growth Standard and measure of physical growth, nutritional status and motor development of children from birth to 5 years age.
By end of 2010, the programme is claiming to reach 80.6 lakh expectant and lactating mothers along with 3.93 crore children (under 6 years of age). There are 6,719 operational projects with 1,241,749 operational Aanganwadi centres. Several positive benefits of the programme have been documented and reported
- A study in states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka demonstrated significant improvement in the mental and social development of all children irrespective of their gender.
- A 1992 study of National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development confirmed improvements in birth-weight and infant mortality of Indian children along with improved immunization and nutrition.
However, World Bank has also highlighted certain key shortcomings of the programme including inability to target the girl child improvements, participation of wealthier children more than the poorer children and lowest level of funding for the poorest and the most undernourished states of India.
- A childcare centre in India aimed at improving child rearing in rural areas
- Malnutrition in India
- Malnutrition in India (Section ICDS)
- School Meals in India
- Mina Swaminathan
- 15 point Programme for minorities
- Mid-day Meal Scheme
- Balwadi Nutrition Programme
- "India's infant mortality rate drops". The Times of India.
- "UNICEF - Respecting the rights of the Indian child". UNICEF. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme". Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- Kapil, U. (July 2002). "Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme: a program for holistic development of children in India". Indian J Pediatr (Indian Journal of Pediatrics) 69 (7): 597–601. doi:10.1007/bf02722688. PMID 12173700.
- "Infant mortality rate shows decline". The Hindu.
- "The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)". UNICEF. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "Supreme Court Commissioners". sccommissioners.org. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "The WHO Child Growth Standards". World Health Organisation. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "CHAPTER 2 THE INTEGRATED CHILD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES PROGRAM (ICDS) – ARE RESULTS MEETING EXPECTATIONS?". World Bank. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- UNICEF India ICDS
- National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development
- ICDS in the various states of India