Ethnographic Insights into ICDS Schemes Implimentation in Palaj and Basan Villages, Gandhinagar

Author: Mohammad Asim, Research Associate, Social Action and Policy Lab IITGN-UNICEF



It is often stated that "Today’s children are tomorrow’s citizens." Children are regarded as the nation’s backbone. India has one of the biggest populations of school-aged children, with most of them lacking access to basic necessities such as nutrition, health care, and educational opportunities. Poverty, illiteracy, women’s workload limited decision-making options, traditional beliefs and practises, and men’s attitudes toward childcare all contribute to malnutrition and, ultimately, maternal and child mortality in India (Raval et al., 2020).

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is India’s sole government programme that aims to address infant malnutrition and provides a framework for the holistic development of children under the age of six years. Despite many efforts, the lack of basic services, resource mobilisation, and administrative systems that are inattentive to community needs intensify the malnutrition situation at the site and sub-location levels. Low socio-economic conditions are the most important factor contributing to an increase in the percentage of malnourished schoolchildren in rural regions. So, via nutritional education, it is critical to instil excellent dining habits in students and all surrounding individuals (John and Lewis et al., 2000). The age range of one to 6 years represents a phase of sustained physical progress. During this time, the typical weight increase is 3 to 3.5 kg per year, and the average height gain is 6 cm per year (Patel & Gandhi, 2014). As a result, this stage of a child’s development is nutritionally crucial.

This report aims to analyse the personal and socioeconomic features of children learning in the Anganwadis of Basan village in Gandhinagar district, Gujarat.


  1. To access the effectiveness of government welfare nutritional initiatives in the Anganwadis of Basan Village, Gandhinagar district, Gujarat.

  2. To take note of the socio-economic barriers in the effective implementation of the government Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) schemes.


The study was carried out at Gandhinagar District’s Basan and Palaj Village in December 2022. Basan village has just two anganwadis with more than 150 registered children; hence, it was chosen for the research owing to the significant burden on the anganwadi workers. An ethnographic investigation was carried out for a month through several visits to the village and the Anganwadis. The Anganwadi instructors were contacted by visiting the centres, and the parents of children enrolled in these centres were approached through the teachers. Semi-structured interviews were taken. Teachers and Asha workers working in village Anganwadis were also interviewed over the phone.

The two Anganwadis at Basan are both urban. Anganwadis are classified as rural or urban based on the number of students enrolled. Both the Anganwadi have instructors, whereas only one of the Anganwadi has a helper. The community lacks a health centre. Therefore, any needy residents must travel to the Palaj health centre in the neighbouring village. However, frequent medical camps are being held in the area. The researcher went to the camp to learn about the services offered and how these camps help with community well-being. While interviewing students’ parents, one assistant who was conversant in Gujarati joined alongside. Apart from the interviews, several written observations were made.


  • Problems mentioned by all Anganwadi workers were :

  1. Very low honorarium (approx. Rs 70000/month)

  2. Lack of adequate water facilities

  3. Inadequate infrastructure

  4. Abundant workload. Workers pay out of pocket to bring food packets (heavyweight) from PDCs; if anything expires, they must return it to the Gandhinagar warehouse.

  5. Unsanitary surroundings. The toilets in all Anganbadis lack proper lighting and sanitation facilities.

  6. Lack of community members’ awareness about vaccines and their side effects.

  7. Parents are hesitant to allow workers to vaccinate their children because they fear having a fever following inoculation.

  • The most common suggestions given by Anganwadi workers were :

  1. To increase the Honorarium

  2. To decrease the burden of multiple work by appointment new workers.

  3. Giving children uniforms

  4. A medicine kit should be kept on hand at all times.

  5. Release of funds for Anganwadi centre management in a hassle-free manner.

General observations

During the survey, all Anganwadi workers claimed that there has been no interruption in the delivery of food material over the last six months. All take-home ration beneficiaries were receiving assistance from an Anganwadi facility. All Anganwadi centres used WHO growth charts to measure child development, and all of them were equipped with appropriate equipment for conducting growth monitoring at these centres. As we investigated, no referral slips were found in any of the Anganwadi locations examined. For the previous six months, no medical supplies have been provided.


The operation of the ICDS system in Basan varies depending on the services offered. Supplementary feeding services were maintained, however medical kits and referral cards were not provided to Anganwadi facilities at the time of the research.

Infrastructure inadequacies such as small buildings, lack of separate kitchen and bathroom facilities, and a lack of drinking water were noted, necessitating prompt action. Supplementary nutrition, nutrition, and health education services were better delivered; however, health and referral services were restricted to arthrometric examination and referral due to a lack of medication kits for six months.

As a framework for providing comprehensive mother and child services, the ICDS has enormous potential. Although the ICDS blocks provide extensive coverage, many of them are not performing adequately. Infrastructure, basic facilities, and training components must be improved. The Child Development Services’ project projections will be determined by how effectively it conforms to quality standards and adapts to solve present inadequacies.


  1. Kapil, U. (2002). Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme: A program for holistic development of children in India. Indian Journal of Pediatrics, 69(7), 597–601.

  2. Navuluri, K. K. R., Kishore, S., Sinha, S., Bahurupi, Y., Aggarwal, P., & Jain, B. (2022). Assessment of Integrated Child Development Services Scheme in Select Districts of Uttarakhand. National Journal of Community Medicine, 11(05), 191–195.

  3. Patel, B., & Gandhi, D. J. (2014). Nutritional Status of Rural Children Aged Six Months To Five Years in Vadodara District of Gujarat. Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences, 3(14), 3644–3651.

  4. Raval, N. P., Patel, I. N., Joshi, K., & Singh, S. (2020). Nutritional Status of School Children (6-12 years) in Deodar Taluka – Gujarat. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences, 9(8), 3658–3665.

Go to Section

Our Partners

Social Action and Policy Lab
Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar
Palaj, Gandhinagar - 382355
Gujarat, India

© 2024 | Social Action and Policy Lab, IIT Gandhinagar