Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is a major national programme that addresses the needs of children under the age of six years. It seeks to provide children with an integrated package of services including supplementary nutrition, healthcare and pre-school education. Since the health and nutrition needs of the child cannot be addressed in isolation from those of the mother, the programme also extends to adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers. Early childhood is important in the overall human capacity development and ICDS aims at ensuring child survival and development during this crucial period offering a wide range of services.
The scheme focuses on the physical, psycho-social, cognitive, language and creative aspects of the child’s development. It believes that child will reach the full potential through integrated approach. It also calls for the care and nurture of adolescent girls, women and children through a focused, child centred approach requiring inter-sector linkages and convergence of services.
ICDS scheme was initiated on the basis of understanding the relationship between the intellectual, emotional and social development along with the health and nutritional sustainability of the child. It is a multi-dimensional and community based convergent scheme.
Over the years the ICDS scheme in its implementation has been facing challenges in terms of resources, management and delivery of quality services. It was observed that with appropriate and timely investment of resources the scheme can further be strengthened. Thus the scheme was converted to the Mission mode during the year 2014-15 as per GO (Rt) No. 186/2014/SJD dated 14.03.2014. On 21.06.2014 the proposed ICDS Mission registered as “The Kerala State Integrated Child Development Society” under the 12th Travancore Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Act 1955. The Register No. is TVM/TC/742/2014
“A transformed ICDS to ensure holistic physical, psychological, cognitive and emotional development of children under six years of age in child friendly and gender sensitive family, community, programme and policy environments with greater emphasis on children under 3 and promotion of optimal early childhood care, development and learning including adolescent and maternal care”.
“Empowering women and children through policies, programs, and projects that tap interdepartmental synergies, build strong partnerships, and take a result based approach so that women and children enjoy their rights and live with dignity”.
Objectives of ICDS Mission
- To improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years;
- To lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development ofthe child;
- To reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout;
- To achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development;
- 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 Anganwadi Services Scheme offers a package of six services.
- Supplementary Nutrition
- Pre-School Non-Formal Education
- Nutrition & Health Education
- Health Check-Up and
- Referral Services
The last three services are related to Health and are provided by Department of Health and Family Welfare & NHM. For better governance in the delivery of the Scheme, convergence is, therefore, one of the key features of the Anganwadi Services Scheme. This convergence is in-built in the Scheme which provides a platform in the form of Anganwadi Centres for providing all services under the Scheme.
The management and control of ICDS Mission is entrusted with Governing Body headed by the Minister for Women and Child Development, Co-chaired by Secretary and Director WCD as member secretary. The governing body of the Mission consists of members including the secretaries of line department, Project director ICDS Mission, experts from the field of Nutrition, ECCE, Social Work, Child psychologists, academician, and representative of WCD GoI, NIPCCD, one District Collector and nominated members of Local Self Governments. The term of office of the Governing Body is for three years from the date of its constitution and the same will be reconstituted by the Government when the term expires.
The Executive Committee manages the day-to-day administration of the Mission. The Committee is chaired by the Secretary WCD, with convener as Director WCD and directors of Health, Public Instruction, Panchayaths, Urban affairs, State Nutrition officer, Director NHM, Executive Director Kudumbashree, Regional director NIPCCID and three nominated experts as members. The term of office of the Executive Committee is for three years.
A proposal for the various posts under contract wages for ICD Mission is submitted to government for approval.
- Reduction in underweight prevalence
- Improved IYCF (Infant and Young Child Feeding practices)
- Reduction in anemia, IMR and MMR in collaboration with health
- Reduction in incidence of low birth weight babies
- Improved early learning outcomes
In Kerala, ICDS was launched on October 2nd, 1975, as a pilot project in Vengara in Malappuram district. After 40 years of operation in the State, ICDS has developed into a vast network of 33115 AWCs providing various services to children aged 0 – 6 years, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women in the 14 districts across the State. Now the scheme expanded to 258 ICDS projects of which 234 Projects are in Rural area, 23 in Urban and 1 in Tribal area.
Fig :1 Expansion of ICDS Projects in Kerala
The GOI sanctioned 95 additional ICDS projects in 2010. Thus universalisation of ICDS was achieved in Kerala. At present the total
number of ICDS projects in the state continues to be 258, of which 234 Projects are in Rural area, 23 in Urban and 1 in Tribal area.
Fig:2 District Wise details of ICDS Projects in Kerala – as on Dec- 2019