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ICDS stands for Integrated Child Development Services. It is a program by the government of India which offers preschool education, nutritional meals, primary healthcare, health check-up, referral services, and immunization to children under the age of six years of age as well as their mothers. The scheme was launched in the year 1975, discontinued in 1978 by the Morarji Desai government, and then relaunched by the 10th Five Year Plan.

The 1oth five-year plan also linked ICDS to Anganwadi centers that are established generally in rural areas and has staff with frontline workers. In addition to improving child nutrition and immunization, the program is also intended to combat gender inequality by offering girls the same resources as boys.

A 2005 study found that the ICDS program was actually effective in reducing malnutrition, largely because of implementation problems and because the poorest states had received the least coverage and funding. In the 2018–19 fiscal year, the Indian federal government allocated ₹16,335 crores to the program, which is almost 60% of the funding for the program while the states are allocated the remaining 40%. The widespread network of ICDS has an important role in combating malnutrition, especially for children of weaker groups.

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The infant mortality rate in India is 34 and the under-five mortality rate is 39. 25% of newborn children are underweight which is only one of the other nutritional, immunization and educational deficiencies of children in India. Figures for India are below the standards of the developed world.

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