ICDS - Integrated Child Development Scheme Last Updated : 25 Jan 2022

The Integrated Child Development Scheme is a centrally-sponsored programme launched with the purpose of eliminating the child health and development hazards. It strives to ensure proper growth and development of tribal, rural, and slum children.

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme is the largest program for promotion of maternal and child health and nutrition in the world. The scheme was launched in 1975 with the aim of eliminating hazards to child health and development. The Integrated Child Development Scheme comes under the purview of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) and is a centrally sponsored scheme that looks to ensure proper growth and development of children in rural, tribal and slum areas.

The Integrated Child Development Scheme launched with 33 projects in 1975 but have 7005 functional projects and 13.16 lakh AWCs all over the country at present. Currently the Scheme reaches out to 7.86 crore children (below the age of 6 years) and 1.86 crore pregnant and lactating mothers.

Objectives of Integrated Child Development Scheme

The main objectives of Integrated Child Development Scheme are:

  • To enhance the health and nutritional levels of poor children in India 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 the country of India.
  • To provide nutritional food to the mothers of young children & also at the time of pregnancy period.

Services provided by ICDS

The scheme aims at providing an integrated package of services. These services include

  • Supplementary nutrition
  • Immunization
  • Health and medical check-ups
  • Recommendation and referral services
  • Pre-school non-formal education
  • Nutrition & health awareness and information
  • Supportive services, such as safe drinking water, environmental sanitation, women's empowerment programmes, non-formal education and adult literacy.

Eligibility for ICDS

ICDS is no longer only available to below the poverty line beneficiaries hence states are responsible to register all eligible beneficiaries.

Funding pattern for the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme

The Indian Government is the main sponsor of the ICDS, however the scheme receives aid from various other non-government bodies. Three of the main contributors are

  1. Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE)
  2. UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund)
  3. World Food Programme (WFP)

Coverage and Outreach of ICDS

The Integrated Child Development Scheme is the largest outreach programme operational through Anganwadi Centres (AWC) which serves as first the outposts for health, nutrition and early learning services at the village level. These centres are manned by Anganwadi worker (AWW) and an Anganwadi Helper (AWH).

Anganwadi's are set up according to the population in a given area. The population norms are as follows:

For Rural/Urban Projects (Anganwadi Centres- AWC)




2 AWCs


3 AWCs

Thereafter in multiples of 800


For Mini AWC


1 Mini AWC

For Tribal/Riverine/Desert, Hilly and other difficult areas/Projects



For Mini AWC in above areas


1 Mini AWC

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