Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)
Launched on 2nd October 1975 in 33 Community Development Blocks, ICDS today represents one of the world’s largest 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, ion the other.
It is an inter sectoral programme which seeks to directly reach out to children, below six years, especially from vulnerable and remote areas and give them a head-start by providing an integrated programme of early childhood education, health and nutrition. No programme on Early Childhood Care and Education can succeed unless mothers are also brought within it ambit as it is in the lap of the mother that human beings learn the first lessons in life.
1. Lay the foundation for proper psychological department of the child
2. Improve nutritional and health status of children 0-6 years
3. Reduce incidence of mortality, malnutrition and school drop-outs
4. Enhance the capability of the mother and family to look after the health, nutritional and development needs of the child
5. Achieve effective coordination of policy and implementation among various departments to promote child development.
The Scheme provides an integrated approach for converging basic services through community-based workers and helpers. The services are provided at a centre called the ‘Anganwadi’. The Anganwadi, literally a courtyard play centre, is a childcare, located within the village itself. A package of following six services is provided under the ICDS Scheme:
- Supplementary nutrition
- Non-formal pre-school education
- Health Check-up
- Referral services
- Nutrition and Health Education
The three services namely immunization, health check-up and referral are delivered through public health infrastructure viz. Health Sub Centers, Primary an Community health Centers under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.