• Terming the problem of malnutrition in the country as national shame, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the government cannot rely solely on the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) to tackle it.
  • What is ICDS? 
  • Launched on 2nd oct 1975, 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.
  • Objectives: The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme was launched in 1975 with the following objectives:
  • to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years;
  • to lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child;
  • to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout;
  • to achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development; and
  • to enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education.
  • Services: The above objectives are sought to be achieved through a package of services comprising:
  1. supplementary nutrition,
  2. immunization,
  3. health check-up,
  4. referral services,
  5. pre-school non-formal education and
  6. nutrition & health education.
  • Why is it not producing the expected results?
  •  The concerned persons who are recruited to do the work may not work efficiently as everybody may not be service oriented.
  • Why is malnutrition a matter of concern now?
  • The report conducted by Naandi Foundation, has been made at the insistence of the Citizens’ Alliance against Malnutrition.The report shows that 42 per cent of our children are still underweight. This is an unacceptably high occurrence.
  • What is the government planning to do?
  • The Prime Minister said his government was working to launch a strengthened and restructured ICDS; to start a multi-sectoral programme for 200 high burden districts and to initiate a nationwide communication campaign against malnutrition.