Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme is one of the largest national flagship programmes for the development of the maternal and child care services. Started by the GOI in 1975, operational for over 35 years, it is contributory in improving the health and wellbeing of maternal and child care through its services. As the restructuring of the ICDS has taken a mission mode, it is considered irreplaceable to include nutrition education as a component because enhanced nutrition care requires continued and repetitive distinctive actions.

The problem of malnutrition is complex, multi-dimensional and inter-generational in nature, the determinants of which include household food insecurity, illiteracy and lack of awareness especially in women, lack of access to health services, availability of safe drinking water, sanitation and proper environmental conditions and adequate purchasing power etc. Clearly, a vibrant societal awareness and collective efforts of Government, complemented by grass-roots organizations is the route to preventing maternal and child malnutrition.

Objectives of the Scheme are:


The ICDS Scheme offers a package of six services, viz.

Supplementary Nutrition
Pre-school non-formal education
Nutrition & health education
Health check-up and
Referral services

2. Supplementary Nutrition in ICDS

Provision of supplementary nutrition under the ICDS Scheme is primarily made to bridge the gap between the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and the Average Daily Intake (ADI) of children and pregnant and lactating women.

Under the revised Nutritional and Feeding norms which have been made effective from February 2009, State Governments/UTs have been requested to provide 300 days of supplementary food to the beneficiaries in a year which would entail giving more than one meal to the children from 3-6 years who visit AWCs.

These norms have also been endorsed by the Supreme Court in order dated 22.04.2009. Presently, after revision of cost norms in 2008, the sharing ratio between the centre and States /UTs is on 50:50 basis and for NER it is 90:10.The extent of nutritional supplements to different types of beneficiaries is indicated below:

Beneficiaries Calories (Kcal) Protein (g) Cost (per beneficiary per day)
Children (6 months to 72 months) 500 12-15 Rs.6.00
Severely Malnourished Children (SAM) (6 months to 72 months) 800 20-25 Rs.9.00
Pregnant and Lactating mothers 600 18-20 Rs.700

The Supplementary Nutrition Programme under ICDS has become a legal entitlement under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 which has been enacted on 10.9.2013. Section 4, 5 and 6 of the National Food Security Act 2013 pertain to nutritional support to pregnant and lactating mothers, nutritional support to children and prevention and management of child Malnutrition.