ICDS Scheme: Purpose, Services, Beneficiary, Functions

By Pranav P|Updated : September 5th, 2022

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is a central government welfare program that provides preschool education, food, and primary health care to children under 6 and their lactating mothers. The WBCS Exam syllabus includes this scheme under the topic of welfare schemes for weaker sections of the population by the Center and the States. In this article, we discussed the ICDS scheme in detail. Please go through it.

Table of Content

ICDS Scheme

Why is the ICDS Scheme in the news?

The Indian government plans to celebrate the first week of September as nutrition week (from September 1 to 7, 2022). So all of India's nutrition and food schemes are discussed and analyzed for their success rates over time.

This project was started in 1975 and aimed at the holistic development of children and the empowerment of mothers. It is a centrally funded scheme. The scheme is primarily managed through Anganwadi / Balavatika Centres. This ICDS scheme is under the control of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

ICDS Scheme Purpose

The main goals of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme are as follows:

  • Bettering the health and nutritional status of children aged 0-6 years;
  • laying the foundation for proper mental, physical and social development of the child;
  • reducing the incidence of child mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout;
  • Effective coordination of policy and implementation across departments for child development and
  • Enhancing the mother's ability to meet the child's normal health and nutritional needs through proper nutrition and health education.

ICDS Scheme: Services and Provisions

Center sponsored Integrated Child Development Services. The following 6 services are provided to the beneficiaries:

  • Health and nutrition check-ups
  • Supplemental Nutrition (SNP)
  • Health and nutrition education
  • Immunization
  • Referral Service
  • Non-formal education for pre-school children

These services are mainly provided by Anganwadi centres established in rural areas and staffed by ENARA frontline workers.

Also read: Mid-day Meal Scheme

Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNP)

The SNP scheme seeks to bridge the gap between the national recommended and average calorie intake of children and women in low-income categories by providing supplementary food. Under this category of ICDS, children below 6 years of age and pregnant and lactating mothers are provided supplementary food and growth-related services to the community. Three hundred days of supplementary food are provided to the beneficiaries.

Health and nutrition check-ups

These include health care for children under six, antenatal care for pregnant women and postnatal care for lactating mothers. Services provided include routine health check-ups, diarrhoea treatment, deworming treatment, weight recording, vaccinations and general medicine distribution.

Immunization

Children are vaccinated against the following preventable diseases: diphtheria, polio, pertussis or whooping cough, measles, tuberculosis and tetanus. Pregnant women are vaccinated against tetanus which reduces neonatal and maternal mortality.

Non-Formal Education (PSE) for Pre-school Children

This section can be considered the backbone of the ICDS scheme. All the services of this scheme are provided in Anganwadi /Balavatika centres in villages and rural areas, and urban slums. This pre-school educational program, mainly for underprivileged children, is directed towards providing and ensuring a natural, pleasant and stimulating environment emphasizing the necessary inputs for optimal growth and development. The basic education component of ICDS is an important input that provides a strong foundation for lifelong learning and development. It provides the child with the necessary preparation for primary school.

Health and nutrition education

Under this component, women aged 15 to 45 are provided nutrition and health education. This is part of the BCC (Behaviour, Change, Communication) strategy. The long-term goal is to build the capacity of women to look after their health, nutrition and development, as well as the needs of their children and families.

Referral Service

During routine health check-ups, any condition or disease requiring immediate treatment is referred to a hospital or a primary health centre. Anganwadi workers are trained to identify disabilities in children so that early intervention can be provided.

Beneficiaries of ICDS Scheme

The following table illustrates how integrated child development services benefit different groups of adults and children.

service

Targeted beneficiaries

Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNP)

Pregnant and lactating women.


Children under 6 years of age

Health and nutrition check-ups

Pregnant and lactating women.

Immunization

Pregnant and lactating women.


Children under 6 years of age

Non-formal education for children in pre- primary-school

Children under 6 years of age

Health and nutrition education

Pregnant and lactating women.


Children under 6 years of age

Referral Service

Pregnant and lactating women.


Children under 6 years of age

Short Notes on ICDS Schemes: Download PDF

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ICDS Scheme FAQs

  • ICDS stands for The Integrated Child Development Services. It is a central government welfare program that provides pre-school education, food, and primary health care to children under the age of 6 and their lactating mothers. 

  • This ICDS scheme was started in 1975 and aimed at the holistic development of children and the empowerment of mothers. It is a centrally funded scheme. The scheme is primarily managed through Anganwadi / Balavatika Centres. This ICDS scheme is under the control of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

  • The beneficiaries of the ICDS (integrated child development services) scheme are children under the age of 6 years and lactating mothers.

  • The Government of India issued Income Computation and Disclosure Standards (ICDS) in the exercise of powers conferred under Section 145 (2) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The Ministry of Finance released 14 draft ICDS, of which 10 ICDS were notified by the government on 31 March 2015.

  • The main goals of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme are as follows:

    • Bettering the health and nutritional status of children aged 0-6 years;
    • laying the foundation for proper mental, physical and social development of the child;
    • reducing the incidence of child mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout;
    • Effective coordination of policy and implementation across departments for child development and
    • Enhancing the mother's ability to meet the child's normal health and nutritional needs through proper nutrition and health education.

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