The rise and role of an NGO in the development of a country

Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) play a crucial role in developing countries through their works in community development and contribution to achieve sustainable goals of the nations. In India, where hunger and illiteracy are two of the major challenges hindering many children’s ability to learn and grow, NGOs form Public-Private Partnership with the Central and State Governments to counter these obstacles.

Significant role of NGOs in empowering children

On 15th August 1995, the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to eliminate classroom hunger and increase enrolment, retention, and attendance. Since then, the Mid-Day Meal Programme has been implemented nationwide to provide wholesome, nutritious meals for children studying in Government and Government-aided schools.

The implementation of the Mid-Day Meal Programme relies a lot on the role of Indian charity like The Akshaya Patra Foundation. The role of an NGO in this programme is to support the Government in the expansion of the scheme in order to reach out to more children, thereby reaching the goals of eliminating classroom hunger and achieving equal education for all children in India.

To establish this partnership, an NGO is selected based on its transparency and “of proven integrity” by the Government. Chosen NGOs must also have a set-up kitchen, operate daily meal preparation, and sustain themselves financially. These NGOs are supported by the Government by the way of subsidies and grants to implement their programmes. This solution allows community engagement and has greatly improved the implementation of the Central Mid-Day Meal Scheme: all layers of society are involved, more than 120 million children are reached out, and the scale of the programme has expanded to over 1,265,000 schools and centres.

“No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger” – The Akshaya Patra Foundation

students and books

The Akshaya Patra Foundation started feeding children in June 2000 by feeding 1,500 children in five Government schools in Bengaluru, Karnataka with one wholesome, nutritious mid-day meal per day, every school day. In the past 18+ years, the organisation has expanded its Mid-Day Meal Programme to 1.76 million children in 15,024 Government and Government-aided schools. Up till date, Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest NGO-run school meal programme that has cumulatively provided over 3 billion meals to children and is working towards its mission to feed 5 million children by 2025.

 

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Ensure right to education for every child in India – Support ‘Back to School’

Children at school and children outside school – the two states into which India stands divided at the moment. But the good news is, this can be altered with focussed, intensive, and collective effort of government, NGOs, business community, and the civil society. Yes, when each segment of the society come together, millions of children from challenging backgrounds get a chance to attend school and continue their education by coming back to school each academic year.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world

Akshaya Patra’s effort

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a mid-day meal NGO in India has been supporting education of children by providing them with freshly cooked nutritious meals on each school day. The Foundation has been able to benefit more and more children in a sustainable way and looks forward to further expand the school meal programme. Over the past 18+ years of its service, Akshaya Patra has witnessed transformational change in the lives of its beneficiaries.

CURRENT REACH OF AKSHAYA PATRA 17,62,133
children
15,024
Government schools & Government-aided schools
42

Locations

12
states

It has also contributed to the overall development of its beneficiaries by initiating various child-centric programmes such as Scholarship Programme, Talent Development Programme, and Student and School Transformation Programme. Since it is important for children to attend school regularly to reap the benefits of these programmes, Akshaya Patra conducts ‘Back to School’ campaign annually. The objective of this campaign is to ensure continuity in education of all the beneficiaries by supporting their school meals for the new academic year.

Your support matters

When you support the ‘Back to School’ campaign, you give children,

  • Access to the much-needed nutritious meals;
  • Opportunity to attend school regularly and complete their education;
  • A platform to explore, learn, and hone their talents;
  • The confidence to achieve their goals and make their lives better by being resourceful.

And, what do you get in return?

  • You get the amazing opportunity to give back to the society.
  • You get a chance to actively involve yourself in the progress of the country.
  • You become a valuable link in the chain of changemakers.
  • You become eligible to receive tax benefits under Section 80G of the Indian Income Tax Act for your donated amount.

ACT to make a difference

Malala Yousafzai precisely said, “Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.” Thus, more the number of children you bring back to school, greater is the impact. Spread the message of the need of nutrition and education in proper growth of children and steady progress of the nation. It’s time, India must stand united to bring equality in health and education of children. And, to attain this desirable state, generosity has to be combined with concerted effort. So, act now. Donate for children.

How mid-day meal plays an important role in Government Schools

The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is one of the most important interventions by Government of India to promote education. On 28 November 2001, the Supreme Court of India passed a mandate stating, “We direct the State Governments/Union Territories to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government assisted Primary School with a prepared mid-day meal.” Hence, under this scheme, children of government school receive free and nutritious meals on school days. It has been observed that the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has had a significant impact on the nutritional and educational status of children. During 2016-17, 9.78-crore children from 11.40-lakh schools had benefited from this scheme.

mid-day meal benefits

The government encourages the participation of NGOs by providing ample support with the intention to multiply the mid-day meal benefits i.e.:

  • avoid classroom hunger
  • increase school enrolment
  • increase school attendance
  • improve socialisation among castes
  • address malnutrition
  • empower women through employment

Since NGOs work at the grass root level and the role of NGOs is very crucial in furthering the benefits of mid-day meal, the government has set certain criterions as per NP-NSPE guidelines to select a partner NGO. Only upon fulfilment of the criterions the NGO will be considered for government partnership and also receive aid from the government in the form of grants and subsidies. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of the main mid-day meal NGOs in India that fulfil and adheres to the NP-NSPE guidelines. The NGO had begun implementing the mid-day meal programme in June 2000. And, after the Supreme Court’s mandate, it partnered with the government to continue the programme. This partnership was a welcome progression for the Foundation in providing nutritious meals and supporting the education of children.

Undeniably, school plays an important role in the socio-economic development of society. It is a place where children from various backgrounds mingle together promoting the culture of unity and brotherhood. The education they receive at school prepare them to achieve their goals and become successful in their lives. But, children of government schools mostly come from economically challenged backgrounds. So, even though education schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan are being implemented, the difficult financial conditions force these children to choose work over school. And, this is where the real potential of mid-day meal surfaces. Mid-day meal acts as an attractive incentive for parents to send their children to school with the sole hope that the young ones will receive at least one plate full of meal for the day. Thus, by giving the assurance of food, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme brings children to school, regularises attendance, checks drop-out rate, and helps children to receive the education they rightfully deserve.

Akshaya Patra is aware of the tangible and sustainable impact of mid-day meal. Hence, taking the onus, it conducts regular impact studies of its school lunch programme, the results of which are heartening. The several impact studies suggest that there has been a marked improvement in factors related to enrolment, attendance, health, and socialisation. To multiply this impact and bring more children under the purview of its school lunch programme, Akshaya Patra seeks supporting hands. And to make it easy for donors, it offers a quick and secure online platform. Through this platform, one can donate for the mid-day meal programme instantly from anywhere and at any time, with the provision of receiving tax exemption benefits too. It will be worth a step if you donate to charity. It will provide food and education to many deserving children while making you an important link in the chain of social development and national progress.

50% Tax Exemption under Section 80G of Income Tax Act

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) play a crucial role in addressing various socio-environmental issues such as illiteracy, hunger, malnutrition, poverty, unemployment, climate change, pollution, and the like. The operational success of NGOs can be attributed to their focussed and strategized functioning towards a particular issue or a set of related issues. For instance, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO in India aims at countering the twin problem of hunger and illiteracy by providing mid-day meals to children at government schools. No matter what causes a particular NGO is focussing on, all NGOs create a platform and welcome the participation of all of us. And, one of the many ways to get involved with a cause is to offer charity.

tax exemption benefit

Aside from the satisfaction of doing a philanthropic act, offering charity can also benefit you financially. Yes, by donating towards an NGO you can avail tax exemption under 80G deduction. As a move to encourage people and business establishments to support various causes, the Government of India introduced Section 80G to give tax exemptions on donations made towards charitable organisations. However, you will be eligible to avail this tax benefit only if you are donating towards certified NGOs and charitable institutions. By certification, it means the NGO or Trust must have a 12A Certificate along with tax exemption status under Section 80G, Section 80 GGA, and Section 35AC (i & ii, i & iii) of the Income Tax Act of 1961.

The limit of deduction is either 50% or 100% of the donated sum depending on the charitable organisation you have chosen. This is in view of the segregation made by the Income Tax Department wherein certain Trusts and NGOs can offer 100% deductions to their donors and some can offer 50% deductions on the donated amount. Well, one such registered NGO in India that provides tax benefits for your donations is The Akshaya Patra Foundation. Akshaya Patra is a mid-meal NGO serving school lunch to children in government and government-aided school across 12 states of India.

  • The Foundation is registered as a not-for-profit organisation under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 (Reg. No. 154).
  • It is registered under Section 12A (a) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  • The Foundation is also registered under Section 6 (1) (a) of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA Reg. No. 094421037).

As per the revised tax exemption act, effective 1 April 2017, donations above Rs. 500 to Akshaya Patra will be eligible for 50% tax exemption under Section 80G of Income Tax Act. But, you must note that a cash donation of above Rs. 2,000 is not applicable for 80G certificates. The benefits of 80G deduction are applicable only for Indian and NRI donors (Indian citizens, holding an Indian passport). To know about tax exemption for foreign donors, click here.

By contributing to Akshaya Patra, you will help in providing school lunch to millions of children who come socio-economic background. The school lunch helps such children to continue schooling by countering classroom hunger. The education and nourishment they receive through the Mid-Day Meal Programme empower them to grow up to be skilled and resourceful citizens of the nation. This means by donating towards the mid-day meal cause, you are supporting zealous, young lives thereby contributing to nation-building. And, simultaneously, you are also benefitting from income tax exemption, making it a win-win situation for the cause and you!

Well then, go ahead and begin the ripple effect of charity by choosing to donate online to charity or offer an offline donation. Your charitable contribution will potentially create a healthy, educated, and responsible generation.