The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today approved the strengthening and restructuring of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme as follows:
(i) Continued implementation of ICDS Scheme in 12th Five Year Plan and ICDS in Mission mode;
(ii) Programmatic, management and institutional reforms to be initiated with widened and revised package of services to focus on under-3 children, maternal care, and Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE) as per the broad framework for implementation with necessary changes in financial norms/allocations and outcomes as recommended by the EFC along with flexibility to the States with scope for innovations,
(iii) Rolling out Strengthened and Restructured ICDS in three years beginning with 200 High Burden districts in the first year 2012-13; additional 200 districts in second year (2013-14) including districts from special category States namely Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and North East Region and remaining 243 districts in the third year (2014-15) of the 12th Five Year Plan.
The financial implications during 12lh Five Year Plan is estimated at Rs. 1,23,580 crore.
The strengthening and restructuring of ICDS Scheme would:
i) Prevent and reduce young child under-nutrition by 10 percentage points in 0-3 years
ii) Enhance early development and learning outcomes in all children below six years of age
iii) Improve care and nutrition of girls and women and reduce anaemia prevalence in young children, girls and women by one-fifth.
ICDS is a universal programme for children under 6 years and pregnant and lactating mothers. Currently it is benefitting 9.65 crore beneficiaries of which 7.82 crore is children under-6 and 1.83 crore is pregnant and lactating mothers. With improved services, the number of beneficiaries is likely to increase.
ICDS introduced in 1975 has been universalised largely post 2005-06 and finally in 2008-09 through 7076 approved Projects and 14 lakh AWCs across the country. The universalization, however, did not match with the concomitant human and financial resources as a result of which programmatic, management and institutional gaps have crept in. This necessitated the strengthening and restructuring of ICDS.