A countrywide initiative, the ICDS programme is India’s primary response to addressing child malnutrition, but has had mixed success on the state of malnutrition in India. This article reviews the ICDS from the perspective of a scaling?up management framework and analyses aspects of design, advocacy, implementation and monitoring in the scaling?up of ICDS. Universalisation of ICDS with quality is well within the means of government and recent advocacy has resulted in increased funding; the scaling?up of ICDS is challenging. Successful scaling?up of ICDS requires the implementation of a multicomponent model, demanding a high level of quality and performance, coordination and convergence in the face of varying and limited management and technical capacity, poor governance environments, and little experience of engaging communities. Success in addressing these constraints is possible but attention to detail is critical and lessons should be adapted to suit local context.