Integrated Child Development Services is the most comprehensive scheme of the Government of India for early childhood care and development. It aims at enhancing survival and development of children from the vulnerable sections of society. Launched on 2nd October 1975 with 33 projects on an experimental basis, ICDS has expanded considerably in subsequent years. It currently covers more than 75 percent of India's community development blocks through a network of around 12.41 lakh Anganwadi centres spread across 4348 blocks in the country. The numbers of beneficiaries being 918.65 lakh comprising 751.03 lakh children and 167.62 lakh pregnant and lactating women (1).
ICDS addresses the health and nutrition needs of children under the age of six. It seeks to provide young children with an integrated package of services, including supplementary nutrition, health care and pre-school education. Since the needs of a young child cannot be addressed in isolation from those of his or her mother, the programme also extends to adolescent girls, pregnant women and nursing mothers. . For the first time in India, a special
intervention has been devised for adolescent girls, using the ICDS infrastructure. This intervention focuses on school dropouts, girls in the age group of 11-18 years, with a view to meeting their needs of self-development, nutrition, health, education, literacy, recreation, and skill formation.
ICDS services are provided through a vast network of ICDS centres, better known as "Anganwadis". Apart from other task Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) are responsible for data collection and data management in the Anganwadi centre. AWW is required to send Progress Report to the block level. At block level, Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) is the in-charge of an ICDS Project. CDPO is required to send the Progress Report to State
Government. In between CDPO and AWW, there exists a supervisor who is required to supervise 25 AWC on an average. Various quantitative inputs captured through CDPO’s progress report are compiled at the State level for all Projects in the State. Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) has the overall responsibility of monitoring the ICDS scheme. There exists a Central Level ICDS Monitoring Unit in the Ministry which is
responsible for collection and analysis of the periodic work reports received from the States in the prescribed formats.