Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme: a program for holistic development of children in India

Indian J Pediatr. 2002 Jul;69(7):597-601. doi: 10.1007/BF02722688.


The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme is the largest program for promotion of maternal and child health and nutrition not only in India but in the whole world. The scheme was launched in 1975 in pursuance of the National Policy for Children. The scheme has expanded in the last twenty-seven years form 33 projects to 5171 blocks. ICDS is a multi-sectoral program and involves several government departments. The program services are coordinated at the village, block, district, state and central government levels. The primary responsibility for the implementation of the program lies with the Department of Women & Child Development at the Centre and nodal department at the states, which may be Social Welfare, Rural Development, Tribal Welfare or Health Department or an independent Department. The beneficiaries are children below 6 years, pregnant and lactating women and women in the age group of 15 to 44 yrs. The beneficiaries of ICDS are to a large extent identical with those under the Maternal and Child Health Program. The program provides an integrated approach for converging all the basic services for improved childcare, early stimulation and learning, health and nutrition, water and environmental sanitation aimed at the young children, expectant and lactating mothers, other women and adolescent girls in a community. ICDS program is the reflection of the Government of India to effectively improve the nutrition and health status of underprivileged section of the population through direct intervention mechanism. The program covers 27.6 million beneficiaries with supplementary nutrition. The program services and beneficiaries has essentially remained the same since 1975. Recently a review of the scheme was held, sponsored by Government of India, which suggested modifications in the health and nutrition component of ICDS scheme to improve the program implementation and efficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Budgets
  • Child Health Services / economics
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • India
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Health Services / economics
  • Maternal Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Pregnancy
  • Program Evaluation