Unspent funds declared by several State governments across the country released under the Central Government’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Schemes has now prompted the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to consider sanctioning funds directly to non-government organisations working in the States.

Ministry secretary Prem Narain said: “ICDS is one of our flagship programmes and the Ministry is working at ensuring that the targeted audience are able to benefit from its restructuring that we are undertaking.”

“As part of that initiative we have decided that funds will now be also released to NGOs working in various States as part of the ICDS programme. A copy of the details of the amount released and date will be issued to the State governments and this will also be put up on the Ministry’s website. Monitoring of the utilisation of these funds will be done by the State governments. The move is also aimed at bringing in transparency and faster accessibility to funds by organisations that are carrying out extensive working at the grassroots level,” he added.

Meanwhile, the restructured ICDS which is to be rolled out in the coming three years in mission mode will take in additional 200 districts, including special category States.

Giving details of the restructured scheme, Mr. Narain said: “The total financial implications for five years is Rs.1,23,580 crore and the programme will target three main outcomes – prevent and reduce young child under-nutrition, enhance early development and learning outcomes in all children and provide improved care and nutrition of girls and women. The programme also looks at reducing anaemia prevalence in young children, girls and women by one-fifth.”

The Ministry in its note has stated that funds for the ICDS mission are to be “channelled through the consolidated fund of the State. Also Centre-State cost sharing on the programme will be 90:10 on existing norms and for new components (including new staff) it is to be 75:25.”Under the mission mode ICDS programme, the Ministry has also sanctioned construction of two lakh anganwadi buildings at a cost of Rs. 4.5 lakh per unit.