New Delhi (IANS) Himachal Pradesh would soon introduce the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in mission mode in three districts in the state, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dhani Ram Shandil said on Thursday.

A project on mission mode means it has clearly defined goals, implementation timelines, and objectives.

‘Three districts – Kangra, Kinnaur and Sirmaur – will be under mission mode from the current financial year,’ Shandil said, while speaking at the first meeting of the National Mission Steering Group meeting. An anganwadi will be provided in every village in the state, under ‘mission mode’.

Shandil said the restructured and strengthened ICDS scheme would be rolled out in rest of the state over the next three years.

He said various steps had been taken to improve child sex ratio in the state, which had gone up to 906 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011, from 896:1000 in 2001.

Likewise, the minister said the female sex ratio had gone up to 974 (per 1,000 men) during this period, and female literacy had risen to 76.6 per cent from 67.42 per cent.

The minister said only 0.5 per cent of children in the state were severely malnourished, and the focus of the nutrition effort would be on children below three years. 

The ICDS, a scheme of the central government, was first introduced Oct 2, 1975. In hilly states like Himachal Pradesh, where the cost of infrastructure is high because of the terrain, cost-sharing ratio between centre and state for this scheme is 90:10.

The scheme was introduced with the aim of tackling problems of malnutrition and health in children below six years of age, and their mothers. Under the scheme, lactating mothers and pregnant women also receive benefits.