Ans: ECD refers to (1) an outcome defining a child’s status – being physically healthy, mentally alert, emotionally sound, socially competent and ready to learn and (2) a process - comprehensive and intertwined interventions achieving the outcome. Optimal early childhood development requires that children have access to: (1) appropriate, affordable, diverse and nutrient-rich food; (2) appropriate maternal and child care; (3) a safe, stable, nurturing environment and opportunities to learn and play; (4) adequate health services and a healthy environment including safe water, sanitation and good hygiene. The term early childhood care and education (ECCE) used in India is equivalent to international terms such as early childhood development (ECD) or early childhood care and development (ECCD).