in India, provide the 0 to 6 years young children with an integrated service of • supplementary nutrition, • healthcare & • preschool education.

Reference: Fronline, April 23, 2010, pp 4-9, 24-26


ICDS – Nutrition component initiated for drought-prone, in 1975

• Launched on 2nd October 1975 in 33 Community Development Blocks, ICDS today represents one of the world’s largest programmes for early childhood development. ICDS is the foremost symbol of India’s commitment to her children – India’s response to the challenge of providing pre- school education on one hand and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, morbidity, reduced learning capacity and mortality, on the other.


Children are the first call on human resource development (HRD) – because young children are the most vulnerable and the foundation for lifelong learning and human development is laid in these crucial early years. Investment in HRD is a pre-

requisite for economic development of any nation.
The first six years constitutes the most crucial period

in life, when the foundations are laid for cognitive,
social, and emotional, physical/motor development and cumulative lifelong learning.

Child survival, growth and development, has to be looked at as a holistic approach, as one cannot be achieved without the others. There have to be balanced linkages between education, health and nutrition for proper development of a child.

ICDS is an inter-sector programme which seeks to directly reach out to children, below six years, especially from vulnerable and remote areas and give them a headstart by providing an integrated programme of early childhood education, health and nutrition. No programme on Early Childhood Care and Education can succeed unless mothers are also brought within it ambit as it is in the lap of the mother that human beings learn the first lessons in life.


Integrated Child Development Services


ICDS Scheme made universal with 14 lakh Anganwadi centers approved
• Delhi , August 6, 2010 • The ICDS Scheme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme implemented by the States/UTs on a sharing pattern of 90:10 for all components including Supplementary Nutrition Programme [SNP] for

North East and 50:50 for SNP and 90:10 for all other
components for all States other than North East.

The Scheme offers a package of six services viz. 1. supplementary nutrition, 2. pre-school non-formal education,

3. nutrition & health education,
4. immunization,

5. health check-up and
6. referral services. The latter 3 services are provided through the Public Health Infrastructure and system of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Krishna Tirath
• This information was given by Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister of State for Women and Child Development (Independent Charge) in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. • The Minister further said that currently, the Scheme is being implemented through a network of 11.83 lakh operational Anganwadi Centres (AWCs), against 13.67 lakh sanctioned AWCs as on 31.5.2010, across the country.


The Scheme envisages involvement of Voluntary Organizations, Central Social Welfare Boards, Local bodies, Panchayati Raj Institutions etc. wherever they are functional, to be actively involved in this Programme for implementation, soliciting community support etc. The State Governments can, within the overall framework of the ICDS entrust the whole or part of the ICDS projects to a Voluntary Organization for which grants to them would be provided by the concerned State/UT administrations. As per information available, number of NGOs engaged by States/UT Admns., including the State of Gujarat for implementation of ICDS, is 66.




Objectives of the scheme …. continued














Child & mother nutrition: a major challenge
• Nutrition indicators like under weight in preschool children, stunting, wasting of these children, prevalence of low birth weight, anemia in pregnant women, adolescent girls and children under three years, poor breast feeding and complementary feeding rates pose a major challenge. • Chronic mal-nutrition among school children as reflected by stunting and wasting is 45.5 %, and 15.5 % respectively as per national Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2, 1998-99.











The right to food-paradox in US
The General Comment on the Right to Food says: “the roots of the problem of hunger and malnutrition are not lack of food but lack of access to available food”. As a recent Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) report says, “The United States is food secure, but the Government fails to protect its people’s right to food. The US Department of Agriculture reports that some 11% of US households (and 18% of US children) lack access to adequate food at some point in the year. That statistic represents 12.6 million people. Yet, even after exports, the domestic supply of food in the US could feed everyone in the country twice over.”


It is indeed unfair and unjust that so many
millions of children should suffer and die

from under-nutrition especially when the
economic performance of the country has

been impressive for close to two decades
now. Particularly disconcerting has been the

extremely slow pace of improvement in the
nutritional status of children.


What then are the actions needed to ensure the eradication of child under-nutrition ? Several expert groups have offered valuable suggestions on how best to tackle the

problem of child under-nutrition. These
suggestions fall broadly into three clusters;

technical, programmatic requirements, and
institutional arrangements.

Technical Interventions There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that tackling child under-nutrition requires a life cycle approach, which implies that different interventions are needed at different stages in the life of a woman (during adolescence and pre-pregnancy and after the birth of the child) and of a child (immediately at

birth, up to six months, 6-23 months and 24-59

Five critical technical Interventions
1. Improve breast feeding practices in the first six months of the infant’s birth _ by early initiation and colostrum feeding; feed only breast milk for first six months. 2. Complementary foods [rich in energy, protein, micronutrients and minerals] after 6 month with breast feeding up to 2 years. 3. Control micronutrient deficiency & anaemia in the first years of life; Vitamin A supplement, deworming, ORS when affected by diarrhea, 4. Control deficiencies in young women, 5. Provide quality care for children with severe under-nutrition under appropriate medical supervision.

Programmatic Requirements:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Situation Analysis Linkages with other sectors Political commitment and partnership Capacity Building Communication & Community Corporate Social Responsibility Resources

Institutional Arrangements
• Implementing ICDS in a mission mode; pilot a two anganwadi -worker model in the ICDS; ensuring better coordination between health & nutrition interventions. • Coordinate between Ministry of Women & Child Development and Ministry of Health & Family welfare. • To overcome malnutrition, Institutional structures for public policy and coordinated action in nutrition may be established.

Institutional Arrangements
• At Panchayat, Nagar palika, and local body levels a Council for freedom from Hunger may be activated.

• Women’s nutrition during reproductive age, and
child nutrition during first two years are to be

provided with community food security systems.

general guidelines: child’s needs
• Children of all ages need affection and attention, opportunities for physical and mental growth, and a healthy, safe environment. However, children's needs will vary based on their age and developmental stage. • The following are some general guidelines for different age groups. • Since you know your child's personality and preferences the best, develop some questions of your own.


Baby's Needs (0 - 18 months)
• Nurturing and love. • Adequate individual attention from a familiar and consistent caregiver. • Routines that can be adapted to your baby's needs • Opportunity for exploration and learning (activities so that babies aren't left alone in cribs for long periods of time). • Clean environment (i.e. diapering and eating areas are separate). • Safe environment, including "baby safe" toys.


• How would you manage a child who cried continuously? • At what age do you think discipline should begin? • What kind of discipline would you use with children the age of my child?

Young Children's Needs (18 months - 5 years) • Adequate adult guidance. • Activities to stimulate creativity and build self-esteem. • Routines that build a sense of security. • Other children to play with. • Safe, clean, pleasant environment indoors and outdoors.

• What kinds of meals do you provide? • What activities do you provide for children this age? • How do you handle toilet training? • What do you do if a child is angry and behaving aggressively?


Older children (school children ages 5 - 11)

• Age appropriate learning opportunities during vacations and after school. • Other children of the same age. • Adequate adult leadership and oversight. • Space enough for active sports and games.


Understanding fatherhood
• What is needed is an understanding of fatherhood that is centred on who men really are, what aspirations they have as fathers, and their own potential to change themselves. He must also acknowledge and respond to realities such as socioeconomic factors, the balance between home-life and work, and cultural norms, all of which impact on men as they strive to be good fathers.





Three indicators which are consistently used to measure people’s ‘success’ in later life are: • moving up in society; • fulfilment of potential; and • capacity to form and maintain rewarding relationships. Parents’ own success in these terms provides role models and examples for their children, and can therefore be an important success factor for their children. Available evidence suggests that the more men and women cooperate economically, the more equally they tend to divide childcare responsibilities. Whether or not the father lives with his children, the quality of his relationship with their mother is also influential.



Food _ Availability, Access and Absorption
• Food availability is assured when enough of it is produced or imported and at an affordable price it is available locally. • Food access is assured when we can buy, prepare and consume food to avail a nutritious diet. • Food absorption is assured when we have normal physical and mental health and are able to maintain it with our diet.


Initiatives to improve the nutritional status of the population during the last five decades include: • Increasing food production and building buffer stocks. • Improving food distribution and building up the public distribution system [PDS] • Improving household food security through:
• improving purchasing power, • food for work programmes and • direct or indirect food subsidy.





Pre-primary Education
Pre-primary Education is offered to children in both urban and rural areas. In urban areas, where sufficient children are available within a reasonable radius, separate Nursery Schools or departments are provided. (continued)


Pre-primary Education
• Otherwise nursery classes are attached to Junior Basic or Primary Schools. • In addition to that Pre-Primary education is provided free of cost. • Thus, the main object of Pre-primary Education is to give young children social experience rather than formal instruction. • It has an essential part to play in every school System, though Pre-primary education in India is not a fundamental right and thus a very low percentage of children receive preschool educational facilities.



In the formal education system, Pre-primary
Education is considered to be an integral part

of regular schools.
Therefore, all pre -primary instruction is

attached to Junior Basic or Primary Schools.
The pre primary education is termed as `Nursery`.

Pre primary education also extends to • Kindergartens,

• crèches and
• Montessori schools.

In these sections of schools, these special
educational facilities are made available to the children below the compulsory age of six.

The main objective of pre-primary education is • to present an environment to children to develop a healthy mind through constructive activities and • informal learning experiences. • This environment also prepares children for a later day primary education by • enabling them to adjust to the surroundings outside their home.

Pre-primary education helps develop • the physical and mental development of the children,

• promote their emotional and
educational development, and

• smoothen their socialization (social
development) process.

Actually, in pre-primary education importance is
not to be given to any kind of formal teaching or learning, and attention is to be given to the psychological development of the children. The activities of pre-school are to be designed as per the interest and the need of the children. So, it is ideal not to have a permanent syllabus for the pre-school programme.

Generally, the main activities of pre-schools are free-play, organized play, story sessions, music and dance, acting, drawing and painting, creative work, nature study, language development, and inculcating a sense of counting, measurements, and weight.

SOCIALIZATION PROCESSES, PRE-PRIMARY EDUCATION, LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT MATERIALS • A child who is already a member of a family learns to become a member of a society through the process of socialization in which language plays a very important role. • Though it is often quoted that, as far as pre-school is concerned, "love is the language and play is the method," love should also be expressed in a human language, in addition to other parental or caregivers' loving behavior, including nonverbal behavior.



• The shelter of parental love takes a backseat in the pre-school environment, and is, kind of, substituted by an institutional arrangement of a learning environment in which teacher and other children come to play a part. • From a family situation, a child thus begins to get exposed to the rain and shine of the community that surrounds it.


Role of mother tongue
• This process of socialization becomes very natural if it is done in the mother tongue of the child. • Since language itself is a system of symbols, when the initial socialization is done in a non-mother tongue of the child, language symbolism gets more complicated and the child begins to feel uneasy.

• This happens more so, especially when the language used in the pre-school has no opportunities of reinforcement outside its school environment. • First generation learners and children from the families which have very little exposure or competence in English face this barrier.

The Indian government lays emphasis to primary education up to the age of fourteen years (referred to as Elementary Education in India.) It has also banned child labour in order to ensure that the children do not enter unsafe working conditions. Both free education and the ban on child labour are difficult to enforce due to economic disparity and social conditions. 80% of all recognized schools at the Elementary Stage are government run/supported, making it the largest provider of education in the Country.

• However, due to shortage of resources and lack of political will, this system suffers from • massive gaps including high pupil teacher ratios, • shortage of infrastructure and • poor level of teacher training. • Education has also been made free for children for six to 14 years of age or up to class VIII under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.


For more information:


UN-MDG Progress Report 2010
• In India, the per cent age of undernourished population was reduced from 24 % to 21 %. • Human Development Index of India was 134 in 1984 and it has remained same in 2007. • South Asia has done well in providing universal primary education, reaching 90% in 2008. • National Advisory Council in India submitted a draft of a Food Security Bill to Govt. of India.


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