Examine the importance of early childhood education and care (ECCE) on India’s long-term economic growth and its role in achieving Viksit Bharat by 2047.


Despite its importance for leveraging India’s demographic dividend and supporting education and employment, early childhood education and care (ECCE) has been underfunded and overlooked.


  • Introduce your answer with what is ECCE and its role in laying the foundation for lifelong learning and holistic development of children.
  • In the main body, highlight its role in building human capital, reducing educational gaps, enhancing learning outcomes, supporting female workforce participation, etc. Next discuss ECCE’s contribution to achieving Viksit Bharat by 2047 through fostering innovation, enhancing global competitiveness, utilizing the demographic dividend, reducing gender disparities, integrating technology, and promoting cultural values.
  • Conclude by emphasizing ECCE’s strategic importance for India’s economic growth and societal advancement towards a developed nation by 2047.


Early Childhood Education and Care (ECCE) encompasses the essential nurturing, care, and educational activities provided to children from birth up to the age of six. It lays the foundation for lifelong learning and holistic development, encompassing physical, cognitive, emotional, and social growth.

Importance of ECCE on India’s Long-term Economic Growth:

  • Human Capital Formation: ECCE is critical for the development of a skilled, healthy, and productive workforce, enhancing human capital and economic productivity.
    • Studies suggest early childhood interventions can lead to improved educational outcomes and higher earnings in adulthood.
  • Reduction in Educational Gaps: By providing equal learning opportunities from an early age, ECCE helps mitigate socio-economic disparities in education.
    • The Anganwadi system under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) aims to offer preschool education across socio-economic strata.
  • Boost to Female Workforce Participation: Quality ECCE services enable women to join the workforce by providing reliable care options for their children, contributing to economic growth.
    • National Creche Scheme.
  • Decrease in Future Welfare Costs: Investing in ECCE reduces the need for remedial education, healthcare, and social services, lowering long-term public expenditure.
    • Early interventions in ECCE have shown to decrease the likelihood of chronic diseases and social challenges.
  • Enhanced Learning Outcomes: Early education sets a strong foundation for higher educational achievements, reducing dropout rates.
    • Initiatives like Balvatika in Gujarat have significantly improved school readiness among children.
  • Economic Resilience: Children with early childhood education adapt better to economic changes, contributing to a more resilient economy.
  • Health and Well-being: A focus on nutrition and health in ECCE programs leads to a healthier workforce, reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity.
    • The integration of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme with ECCE to ensure nutritional support for early learners

Role in Achieving Viksit Bharat by 2047:

  • Fostering Innovation and Creativity: ECCE stimulates early brain development, fostering creativity, problem-solving skills, and adaptability, essential for a knowledge-driven economy.
    • NIPUN Bharat Mission focuses on foundational literacy and numeracy.
  • Global Competitiveness: By improving quality and access to ECCE, India can ensure its young population is ready to contribute to and benefit from global opportunities.
  • Demographic Dividend Utilization: By ensuring the health and education of its youngest citizens, India can effectively leverage its demographic dividend for economic growth.
  • Reduction in Gender Disparities: ECCE offers an entry point for addressing gender disparities in education and employment from an early age.
    • Encouraging girls’ education and participation.
  • Technology Integration: Early exposure to technology can prepare children for a digitally advanced future, ensuring they are not left behind in the digital age.
    • “Smart” Anganwadi centres.
  • Cultural Preservation and Promotion: Incorporating local culture and languages in ECCE can foster a sense of identity and pride among young children.
    • NEP 2020, promotes instruction in mother tongue.

Investing in Early Childhood Education and Care is not just a moral and social imperative but a strategic economic decision that will pave the way for India’s transformation into a developed nation by 2047, Viksit Bharat, ensuring a prosperous future for all.

‘+1’ Value Addition:

  • Ministry of Women and Child Development’s (MWCD) Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi aims to improve ECCE quality through the Anganwadi system.
  • University of Chicago and Yale University, have suggested a 13% annual return on investment for every dollar invested in early childhood.
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