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Addressing utilization of the ICDS programme in Tamil Nadu, India: how class and caste matters
Authors: Dilip Diwakar G.
Source: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 34(3/4): 166-180; DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-01-2013-0008
Topic(s): Child health
Nutrition
Wealth Index
Country: Asia
  India
Published: MAR 2014
Abstract: Purpose – The reduction in under nutrition is very slow in the past two decades in India even with high-economic growth rate and expansion in the ICDS programme. The ICDS evaluation studies majorly stressed on the general factors but they fail to acknowledge the structural factors - class and caste - while providing solutions. In Tamil Nadu nutritional status and utilization of ICDS services are better as compared to all-India average. The purpose of this paper is to explore the nutritional status of the poor and scheduled caste (SC) in Tamil Nadu and their utilization of ICDS services and to examine the role of group-specific factors in low reduction of nutritional status and utilization of ICDS programme. Design/methodology/approach – Multivariate analysis and logistic regression method were used using SPSS. Findings – The reduction of underweight is slow among the poorest and SC, moreover, the disparity between the richest and poorest as well as upper caste and SC is increasing. Logistic regression analysis shows that the poorest are marginalized, children belonging to poorer income group have higher chances of using the ICDS than the poorest and it is significant. After making the wealth quintile constant, the utilization of ICDS services across social groups showed that, though the poorest quintile has less access, within them the SC had utilized less compared to the other backward class (OBC). This indicates the poorest SCs are more vulnerable and marginalized across all quintiles and social groups. Research limitations/implications – In Tamil Nadu there is no sufficient sample of other caste/tribe and scheduled tribe. It would have given more insight on the utilization pattern. Lack of qualitative data has limited in explaining few phenomena to get more insight. Social implications – It will help the government to formulate more inclusive policy and address the issue of exclusion of marginalized people. Originality/value – The main core argument was based on the Tamil Nadu National Family Health Survey (NFHS) III unit-level data. Keywords: Public health, India, Disadvantaged groups, Social inclusion, Children (0-6 years), ICDS