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Early Childhood Development

Investing in children’s early years — in health, nutrition and early childhood development— is a critical down payment to long-term competitiveness. The World Bank Group focuses on bringing together these related sectors in a more comprehensive and complementing approach to put children on a solid path towards maximizing their potential. The World Bank Group supports programs to improve the coverage and quality of nutrition services, improve early childhood education assessment tools and curricula, achieve better integration and coordination of services, and deepen analysis of constraints to early childhood development in the Indian context.

$ 0.31 billion committed (IBRD/IDA)

$ 0.16 billion disbursed

Commitments are the sum of amounts of financing that the World Bank has committed to support lending operations towards achieving the objective of (fill in title of objective). Disbursements are the sum of financing spent by operations towards achieving this objective.

Results indicators


  • National Nutrition Mission (also known as ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project: Additional Financing)

    The development objective of the National Nutrition Mission Project for India is to support the Government of India and participating states to (i) strengthen the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) policy framework, systems and capacities, and facilitate community engagement, to ensure greater focus on children under three years of age; and (ii) strengthen convergent actions for improved nutrition outcomes.The project includes the following four components. (i) ICDS institutional and systems strengthening; (ii) community mobilization and behavior change communication; (iii) convergent nutrition actions; and (iv) project management, monitoring and evaluation. The project was significantly restructured in September 2015 to address these design and capacity constraints. The restructuring simplified the design by (a) focusing on a small set of evidence-based interventions, (b) building in sustainability by using existing Government structures to deliver the interventions instead of parallel project implementation units, and (c) ensuring the provision of high-quality technical assistance through a World Bank-executed Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF)-Partnership for Nutrition Results in India (PNRI). The proposed Additional Financing (AF) will thus fund the first phase scaling-up of the National Nutrition Mission (NNM) from the current 162 districts across 8 states to 315 districts across all states and union territories (UTs). The proposed AF will also focus on quality improvement of the ongoing project interventions within the existing project states. The original project will correspondingly be restructured to extend the closing date to August 30, 2022.

  • India: ICDS Systems Strengthening & Nutrition Improvement Program (ISSNIP)

    The objective of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Program (ISSNIP) Project is to improve nutritional outcomes of children in India. The changes proposed are to amend the clause enumerated in schedule two, section IV.B.1 (a) of the financing agreement to include category two as an eligible category under retroactive financing. The change will make the financing agreement consistent with the agreement with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) during project preparation that the project will be able to provide retroactive financing of not more than SDR 13,000,000 equivalent for expenditures incurred after January 1, 2011 till November 5, 2012. The MWCD had proposed the use of retroactive financing for CPMU costs as part of project management costs, which are under category two, which inadvertently was not included as an eligible category for retroactive financing.

Knowledge Activities

  • Planning for developing child-friendly aanganwadis : handbook for officers, administrators, and planners : बाल-सुलभ आँगनवाड़ी विकसित करने की योजना बनाना

    This document is for all those officers, planners, and administrators who are working for aanganwadi integrated child development scheme (ICDS) development at project, district, or state and union territory level. This will give detailed information about visualizing aanganwadis, holistically planning and giving shape to the program with implementation process. This document will help in connecting the key goals of aanganwadi, activities with the physical environments that can give them a concrete form - in existing or new to be developed aanganwadis. It will help understanding this holistically - to think and integrate in planning to implement in a region. It will help in-depth understanding of the child-centered concept of building as learning aid (BaLA), linking it with child development and early childhood care and education (ECCE) and suggest ideas on how to make it integral to the plan. This will also help in guiding towards convergence of different ideas, activities, government provisions, schemes, and items.

  • Use of child accessible, balanced anganwadi environment : accessory for anganwadi workers and investigators : बाल सुलभ, बाला-युक्त आँगनवाड़ी वातावरण का उपयोग

  • Developing child-friendly aanganwadis with bala : बाल-सुलभ आँगनवाड़ी बाला के साथ विकसित करना

    This construction manual is for agencies, engineers, and architects involved in aanganwadi repair and renovation or new construction. This report gives detailed information and guidance to understand and construct the concept of making better Aanganwadis, methods of child-centric repair or construction; role of building as learning aid (BaLA) in child development and developing BaLA - settings and BaLA - resources in aanganwadi premises. It will also help in understanding how to maintain aanganwadi and their respective role in all these. This construction manual has been developed with this thought that how an engineer and architect can contribute in the social infrastructure of an aanganwadi from the perspective of their profession and skills.

  • Evaluating Integration in the ICDS : Impact Evaluation of an AWC-cum-creche pilot in Madhya Pradesh

    India is home to approximately 164 million children 0-6 years of age, constituting about 20 percent of the world’s child population in this age group. Their optimal development is critical to human capital development in the world. Yet, with 38.4 percent children under 5 years of age in India stunted, 21 percent wasted and only 9.6 percent children aged 6-23 months receiving an adequate diet, optimal child development in India is still a goal for the future. Indicators on cognitive development, while currently not available at the national level, are also likely to exhibit a similar status, as conditions for adequate cognitive development of the child are similar to those required for adequate health and nutrition. Investments in early childhood development (ECD) are thus critical. They are known to positively impact school attendance, retention, learning and lifetime earnings. Recognizing the relevance of strengthening their investments in ECD, India in 2012 restructured their Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program framework to focus more on children under 3 years of age. One element of this strengthening was a proposal to introduce on an experimental basis, the provision of day care crèches for care and development of children 6-72 months of age whose mothers go to work, in 5 percent of existing Anganwadi Centers (AWCs). The model involved expanding the scope of the existing services provided at the AWC under the ICDS scheme to include crèche services for children under 3 years of age. The primary objective of adding creche services to the existing nutrition and pre-school education services provided at the AWC was to strengthen the focus on early childhood care and stimulation among children under 3 years of age. In other words, the model sought to enhance child care by including child stimulation along with a package of child feeding and health care being delivered through the Government’s ICDS program. The pilot or the AWC-cum-creche model was implemented entirely by and through Government systems, with some technical assistance from IFPRI and the World Bank in the form of capacity building of the newly recruited creche workers. Being completely government managed and owned makes the model not only potentially scalable but also provides a clear understanding of the barriers, limitations and opportunities if it is adopted and scaled up.

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