Since the child is the adult of tomorrow, we have to make necessary investments in building up this human capital. If steel mills, dams, factories, roads, bridges, nuclear and electronic devices are necessary prerequisites for progress and development, then the human material which builds, maintains and utilizes these assets is important. Whether we use a plough—improved or traditional—or a tractor for agriculture, it is ultimately the man using it who has to be given importance. Child development is thus the foundation of the development process.
Child welfare being part of social welfare in India, emphasis has always been laid on welfare measures that cater to the needs of the delinquent, the destitute and the handicapped children. In a country like India with meagre state resources, widespread poverty, ignorance, and lack of social services, even the normal child is in a sense handicapped. Child development, recognized as part of social welfare programmes, needs a multidisciplinary approach. Integrated services such as health check-up, immunization, nutrition, drinking water, environmental sanitation, maternity and child welfare services including family welfare, education and recreational programmes constitute child development, which is the concern of the Social Welfare Department. Though child development has been the concern of medical and social welfare, home science and education disciplines, these have not individually contributed adequately to the development of children, particularly of pre-school age.