Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme was launched in 1975 with the following objectives:
  1. to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years;
  2. to lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child;
  3. to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout;
  4. to achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development; and
  5. 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.
The above objectives are sought to be achieved through a package of services comprising:

  1. supplementary nutrition :This includes supplementary feeding and growth monitoring; and prophylaxis against vitamin A deficiency and control of nutritional anaemia.
  2. immunization:Immunization of pregnant women and infants protects children from six vaccine preventable diseases-poliomyelitis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, tuberculosis and measles
  3. health check-up:This includes health care of children less than six years of age, antenatal care of expectant mothers and postnatal care of nursing mothers. 
  4. referral services:During health check-ups and growth monitoring, sick or malnourished children, in need of prompt medical attention, are referred to the Primary Health Centre or its sub-centre.
  5. pre-school non-formal education : Its programme for the three-to six years old children in the anganwadi is directed towards providing and ensuring a natural, joyful and stimulating environment, with emphasis on necessary inputs for optimal growth and development.
  6. nutrition & health educationThis has the long term goal of capacity-building of women – especially in the age group of 15-45 years – so that they can look after their own health, nutrition and development needs as well as that of their children and families.

The ICDS team comprises the Anganwadi Workers, Anganwadi Helpers, Supervisors, Child Development Project Officers (CDPOs) and District Programme Officers (DPOs). Anganwadi Worker, a lady selected from the local community, is a community based frontline honorary worker of the ICDS Programme. She is also an agent of social change, mobilizing community support for better care of young children, girls and women. Besides, the medical officers, Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) form a team with the ICDS functionaries to achieve convergence of different services.


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