An Opportunity to Avail 100% Tax Deduction

If you are pressed for time with tax planning, we have for you some information on financial year-end donation to charity. It won’t just help you avail 100% tax deduction, but also ensure that you experience the joy of giving.

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Charitable institutions play a crucial role in socioeconomic development of the country, and therefore, there exist Income Tax rules that have been specifically constituted to encourage people to donate to charities. Some charitable projects are approved as eligible for tax deductible donations under Section 35AC and Section 80GGA.

If you have your own business or you happen to be a salaried individual donating to an eligible institution, then you can claim 100% deduction under Section 35AC. If, on the other hand, your source of income is anything other than business, then deduction can be claimed under Section 80GGA. These provisions in the Income Tax Act are meant to help charitable institutions attract prospective donors and raise funds to run the programmme.

If you want to avail tax benefits, you need to check which projects are eligible for the same. It’s the Central Government that decides which programme of which charitable institution is to be approved for tax deductible donation under various sections of the IT Act. The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s Mid-day Meal Programme is one of the projects you can donate to in order to avail 100% income tax exemption under Section 35AC.

Any donation of Rs. 500 and above is eligible for tax benefit in this case. If say you donate Rs. 2000, then this amount will be deducted from your taxable amount. You will receive a certificate acknowledging your contribution. You can use the same to claim exemption from taxable income.

By donating to Akshaya Patra, you will be doing your bit to feed children, bring them to the classroom, and nurture smiles.

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Fundraising for an NGO – The Akshaya Patra Experience

NGOs don’t rely on a single method of fundraising, as dependence on one method alone is unlikely to help in reaching out to all the potential donors. Also, to ensure the sustainability of the programme, it’s important that the said organisation has sufficient resources. Therefore, they resort to several different methods of fundraising.

At The Akshaya Patra Foundation, we understand the necessity of this approach. After all, we feed over 1.5 million children across 10 states every school day as a part of the Mid-day Meal Scheme and intend to reach out to 5 million children by 2020. Thus, we make it a point to urge to all our supporters to help us in our cause. If you are keen on fundraising for an NGO working for children, we have a whole list of things you can do to help us.

Fundraise with Akshaya Patra

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One unique method that some NGOs resort to is to allow people to create online fundraising campaigns and help the organisation. For instance, Akshaya Patra allows you to create your customized campaign in a couple of easy steps. You simply create a campaign, customize it, and share it on social media or via email, and then it helps you reach out to your friends and family, and make a donation pitch to them.

In order to start a campaign with Akshaya Patra, you will have to create an account. Once you sign up, you can give a name to your campaign, decide the duration, and set the amount you want to raise.

Also, you have the option of assisting an ongoing campaign by sharing it on social networking websites or via your email, or even make a donation to some existing campaign. In doing so, you will be supporting a not-for-profit organisation that thrives to improve the lives of children.

While an online fundraising campaign scores high on the convenience factor, it’s not the only way you can help us raise funds. You can even organise a fundraiser at your workplace or in your community or neighbourhood and help us to provide a nutritious meal to school children. We will support you in every way possible. You just need to get in touch with us to set the ball rolling.

Do Something Extraordinary

Gaurav Warman Campaign

Also you can take out a page from Gaurav Warman’s book and pull off a campaign that will catch the eye of the world. A resident of Mumbai, Gaurav orchestrated the Ride 1,200 Kilometres for 120 Little Angels campaign in 2015. As a part of this campaign, he travelled 1,200 kilometres on a bicycle from Mumbai to Jaipur. The funds raised during his campaign were donated to Akshaya Patra’s Mid-day Meal Programme to feed a wholesome meal to 120 children for an entire year.

How the Donation is used

  • 82% Mid-day Meal Programme
  • 2% other feeding programme
  • 10% Programme management
  • 6% Fund raising and communications

Most people, if not all, are sensitive to the plight of those who are less fortunate. They even want to do something for them. The problem though, is that they don’t know how to go about it, and this is exactly where your fundraising campaign will help. If people have the will, your campaign will show them the way.


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Water Scarcity: An Existential Threat

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On the eve of World Water Day 2016, we decided to find the answer to one of the most intriguing questions related to water: will we ever run out of it? Whilst doing so, we came across some facts about water pollution which were outright concerning.

Annually, 22nd March is observed as the World Water Day to spread awareness about the importance of freshwater and advocate sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Around 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water and yet, more than a billion people around the world don’t have access to clean water to drink. Irony is the word! Of the total water available on Earth, 97.5% is in oceans; unsuitable for drinking due to its salinity. As for the remaining, most of it is stored in the form of polar ice caps and high-altitude glaciers. Thus, we are left with less than 1% water that is potable.

One issue that crops up when it comes to water resources management is the uneven distribution of freshwater sources. While Asia, with 60% of the world population to its credit, only has 36% freshwater sources on the planet, South America, with 6% world population, has 26% of the sources.

It’s but obvious that we need to take good care of available water, but far from that, we seem to be on a mission to spoil it and along with it, our future. Global water crisis is no more a thing of distant future. It is knocking on our door and over a billion people are facing the brunt.

Will We Run Out of Water on Earth?

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We won’t run out of water on the planet because the hydrological cycle or water cycle is a continuous process. However, at the rate at which we are polluting various freshwater sources, we might run out of clean water sometime soon. After all, water pollution has become rampant across the world.

  • Around 90% of untreated waste is dumped into rivers, lakes, and other freshwater sources in developing countries. Source: United Nations World Water Assessment Program (WWAP)
  • Of the 40,000 million liters of sewage produced in Indian cities, only 20% is subjected to treatment; the rest 80% is dumped into water bodies. Source: Excreta Does Matter/Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)
  • An estimated 1.8 billion people the world over are dependent on water contaminated with fecal matter. Source: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply
  • Around 1,800 children under the age of five die every day as a result of diarrheal diseases stemming from water and sanitation issues. Source UNICEF

Our dependence on water clubbed with our carelessness means it will take a combined effort from all of us if we are to save water. There do exist some simple ways to save water. Say, for instance, you simply turn the tap off while you are brushing your teeth, you’ll be able to save a significant quantity of water at an individual level. Imagine the impact if all of us decide to do the same.

Using Water Judiciously: Success Stories

When we talk about water conservation success stories, one that stands out is that of Hiware Bazar, a village in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. Until 1990s, the village was in a very bad condition; courtesy, less than 400 mm rainfall per annum and rampant destruction of the green cover. In fact, the situation was so dire that many villagers migrated to other parts of Maharashtra in the pursuit of a better life.

In 1993, the villagers set on the course of ecological regeneration and started working on the causes of water scarcity in the village. As a part of this, degraded forests were regenerated and contour trenches were built along the hills, which helped restore the water table. Thanks to these efforts, the village is lush green today, and agriculture has become a major source of income for the people.

Even at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, we make it a point to use water judiciously. At the same time, efforts are made to introduce new ideas that can reduce the use of water. Akshaya Patra’s Hubballi kitchen, for instance, came up with the idea of cooking rice with starch instead of draining it out, as a part of Kaizen initiative. The implementation of this idea helps in saving 110 liters of water per batch of rice. A hundred batches of rice are cooked every day, so 11,000 liters of water is saved on a daily basis. If we say there are 220 school days, then the quantity of water saved in a year will be a whopping 24,20,000 liters.

Never has the need to find water scarcity solutions been as urgent as it is today, mainly because for the second year in a row in 2015, the monsoon was poor (775 mm in 2014 and 760.6 mm in 2015.) In fact, 2015 monsoon was the worst in the last six years. The resulting deficit in dam water in different parts of the country has already started affecting electricity production. Things expected to worsen with time as our annual consumption of water is expected to double by 2050.

It would be naïve to think the problem of water scarcity only plagues Asian and African countries. Even parts of western United States and eastern Australia are battling physical water scarcity. In 1995, the then VP of the World Bank, Ismail Serageldin had said, “If the wars of this century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water”. If you go to think of it, he may very well be right!

Check out how Bangalore is facing scarcity of water: blog.akshayapatra.org/world-water-day-2016-every-drop-counts/

Less Obvious Benefits of the Mid-day Meal Scheme

While the primary objectives of Mid-day Meal Programme are to avoid classroom hunger, improve school enrolment and attendance, and address the issue of malnutrition, the benefits of this scheme go well beyond these objectives.

The Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS) in its full-fledged form was implemented in 2004 to address two key issues: hunger and education. As a part of this scheme, a wholesome meal is provided to all children in the 6 to 14 age group studying in government and government-aided schools, making nutritious meal a reality for children who otherwise can’t afford a square meal.

Mid day meal

With the implementation of this scheme, it became easier for the authorities to convince people to send their children to school. Children, for their part, were more than eager to come to school, as a result of which school enrolment and attendance improved. It also helped in solving the problem of classroom hunger—one of the main reasons for lack of concentration in school children.

Government School Children

Over the years, the Mid-day Meal Scheme has done a fair bit to eradicate hunger and promote education, but these are not the only two areas where the scheme has helped. There exist other areas where the indirect impact of the same has been felt.

It Promotes Socialisation

Happy Children

Among the less-known advantages of mid-day meal scheme, one of the most important is the fact that it fosters the habit of eating together in children. The sight of all children coming together every afternoon for their meal is a sight to treasure. This intermingling improves unity among them. You can never stress enough on the importance of socialisation in India. The ambitious mid-day meal programme has helped ensure that caste, religion, or other similar factors don’t come in between children and education.

It Provides Employment Opportunities

Akshaya Patra Decentralized Kitchen

The Mid-day Meal Programme is the largest school meal programme in the world, feeding over 120 million children of over 1 million schools. But obviously, an operation of this scale will require a huge workforce. According to the data put forth by the Government, the Programme employs around 2.6 million people across the country as cooks and helpers.

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Besides the cooks and helpers hired by schools, there are several individuals who are employed by the NGOs who have got into a public-private partnership (PPP) with the Government to implement this scheme. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which feeds over 1.5 million school children across ten states of India, hires about 6300 people. The not-for-profit organisation based out of Bengaluru also operates two decentralised kitchens where women self-help groups (SHGs), who have a better idea of the local palette, are employed.

Other Benefits

The guidelines put forth by the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE), state that the Government should ‘mobilize community support and promote public-private partnership for the programme’ wherever possible.

Yet another less-known benefit of the mid-day meal scheme is that it helps the local economy as perishable commodities, like vegetables, dals, oil, etc., are purchased from the local market.

Chopped Vegetables

In essence, the Mid-day Meal Programme has done a lot for the children of our country. However, considering the vast size of our country, we understand that there’s a lot to be done. If we are to achieve this, we need to work together; all of us, Central and state governments, partnering NGOs, communities, and every single stakeholder.

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Akshaya Patra has been working in this field for more than 15 years now, so we can say we can confidently say we have enough experience and expertise required to take things ahead. What we need is your support through online donation to ensure that more children reach school and script their own future.

Akshaya Patra Bags LACP Award

LACP Award

The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) struck Gold at the League of American Communications Professionals’ (LACP) Vision Awards 2014-15 in the Annual Reports (NGO) category, making it five wins in a row. The Foundation’s Annual Report 2014-15, titled Giving Every Dream a Chance featured the inspiring stories of three beneficiaries whose dreams were given wings by Akshaya Patra.

This instalment of the LACP Awards had submissions from over two dozen countries, which makes the win all the more special. Akshaya Patra’s Annual Report scored 98 out of 100, bagging perfect scores in multiple attributes, including Report Cover and Information Accessibility.

LACP Managing Director, Christine Kennedy was all praises for the Annual Report. She said “It proves to be remarkable in light of tremendous competition. The level of creativity exhibited is superb, which is supported by exceptional clarity in communicating this year’s key messages.”

The LACP was formed in 2001 to provide a platform for individuals and entities in the public relations industry, to encourage best practices and recognise exceptional talent.