ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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ICDS and Persistent Undernutrition

This article examines the effectiveness of the Integrated Child Development Services programme in addressing the challenge of child undernutrition in India. It finds that although the ICDS programme appears to be well-designed and well-placed to address the multidimensional causes of malnutrition in India, there are several mismatches between the programmeâ??s design and its actual implementation that prevent it from reaching its potential. These include an increasing emphasis on the provision of supplementary feeding and preschool education to children aged four to six years, at the expense of other programme components that are crucial for combating persistent undernutrition; a failure to effectively reach children under three and, ineffective targeting of the poorest states and those with the highest levels of undernutrition which tend to have the lowest levels of programme funding and coverage. In addition, ICDS faces substantial operational challenges.

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