NGO in Rajasthan & Its Kitchen

Reportedly, Rajasthan is the seventh most populated state in India. Of its total population, 24% is aged between six and fourteen. And, the question of concern is its education scenario. Rajasthan has the fourth lowest literacy rate in the country and has the lowest female literacy rate of just 52.66% (Census 2011). The state is also haunted by high rate of out of school and school drop-out rate. Rajasthan reported a 6.6% improvement in its literacy rate in ten years as against a countrywide improvement of 9.2%. It is one of the four BIMARU states that has lowest literacy rate and learning outcomes; the other states being Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. To address this situation, several measures have been taken by the government, and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme is one such intervention. As a supporting arm to the government’s effort, The Akshaya Patra Foundation is serving mid-day meals to more than one lakh government school children by operating as a NGO in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara, Ajmer, and Baran.

Mid-day meal in Rajasthan

The Foundation has been providing mid-day meal in Rajasthan since 2004 by establishing its first kitchen in Jaipur. Currently, Akshaya Patra feeds a total of 1,70,723 children in 2,672 government schools across the state. The NGO operates two types of kitchen in the state – centralised kitchens and decentralised kitchens. The centralised kitchens serve children in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara, and Ajmer whereas decentralised kitchens provide meals in the Baran region. Of the four centralised kitchens, three kitchens namely Jaipur, Nathdwara, and Ajmer are ISO 22000:2005 certified kitchens and the Jodhpur kitchen is in the process of certification.

The hi-tech centralised kitchens of the Foundation are equipped with roti-making machines, grinding machines, potato peeler machines, vegetable cutting machines, daliya roasting woks, atta kneaders, flour mill machines, cauldrons, trolleys, RO plants, rice-cleaning machines. Each of the kitchens has dedicated customised delivery vehicles. To suit the local taste, the kitchens follow a North Indian menu comprising of roti (Indian flatbread), dal (lentil curry),  rice, mixed vegetable curry, kadhi (curd-based curry), biscuits, khichdi (a dish made of rice, lentils, and vegetables), sweet daliya (a cereal-based dish), cake, biscuit, and kheer (rice-based Indian dessert).

Similar to all kitchens of the Foundation, the Rajasthan kitchens strictly adhere to hygiene and cleanliness practices while preparing meals. Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Projects and Six Sigma methodologies form an integral part of these kitchens too. While providing wholesome mid-day meals to school children in Rajasthan, this NGO in Jaipur also implements various eco-friendly measures in its kitchen operations to save cost and reduce carbon footprint while maintaining efficiency of production. Some of the initiatives taken in the kitchens of Rajasthan are:

  • Solar power panels
  • Sewage Treatment Plant
  • Reed bed plant
  • Liquid Off Take (LOT) system to reduce LPG consumption
  • Regular lab testing for emission, air etc.

The Foundation has not stopped at just providing mid-day meal in Rajasthan, rather it has also been actively involved in various socio-developmental initiatives such as Shoes Distribution, Talents Hunt, and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.

Akshaya Patra wants to expand its reach and benefit more children in the state. But, in doing so, it requires your support. You can be a part of the NGO’s mission to nourish children by either opting to contribute funds, donate a vehicle to deliver meals to schools or by adopting a school. By contributing towards the NGO’s cause you will ensure that children receive at least one nutritious meal per day. It will also make you a changemaker striving for a healthy and educated tomorrow. Take a step for children, support their meal, and get prepared to witness a nourished and educated India.

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5 Advanced Technologies Adopted in Akshaya Patra Kitchens

Kitchen technologies

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a mid-day meal NGO in India. It has been in the service of children since 2000. The Foundation has been recognised as the world’s largest NGO-run school meal programme. It runs the programme in a Public-Private Partnership model receiving aid from Central and various State Governments including help from Corporate and individual donors. The NGO aims to provide unlimited food for education and is aware of its responsibility in providing nutritious, hygienic, and clean food to children. Typically, a centralised Akshaya Patra kitchen has the capacity to cook up to 100,000 meals and to increase efficiency and productivity, the Foundation has adopted various technologies in the kitchen operations. Several Corporate partners have helped the Foundation in the endeavour of introducing technological intervention in the kitchens. Here are five main technologies adopted in the kitchens:

1. Roti-making machine – Since roti (Indian flatbread) is a staple item in the North Indian menu, the North Indian kitchens are equipped with roti making machines, with the capacity to roll out up to 200,000 rotis from 6000 kilograms of wheat flour. This enhances hygiene and efficiency since the whole process is mechanised and there is minimal human intervention.

Roti making machine

2. Hot insulated vessels and vehicles – The Foundation makes use of hot insulated vessels and vehicles to pack and deliver cooked meals to schools. The use of insulation technology ensures that the meals remain fresh until it is consumed by children. To aid this, State Bank of India, one of The Foundation’s Corporate partners have recently contributed INR 88 lakhs for the procurement of insulated vessels.

Insulated vessel and vehicle

3. Conveyor belt – In order to increase efficiency during the loading process, the kitchens are equipped with conveyor belts. After packing, the containers are sent on a conveyor belt that gets loaded into customised insulated meal delivery vehicles.

Conveyer belt

4. GPRS in meal delivery vans – The Foundation has incorporated GPRS technology in its meal delivery vehicles to ensure safety and on-time delivery of meals.

Mid day meal van

5. Eco-friendly interventions – Aside from regular technological interventions, the NGO has also adopted green technologies such as biogas plant, briquette boiler, and solar power in some of its kitchens to reduce carbon footprint and operational cost.

Recently, the Foundation inaugurated its hi-tech mega kitchen at Kandi, Telangana. This is the largest among all the existing kitchens. The Infosys Foundation, one of the NGO’s Corporate partners have funded the construction of this mega kitchen. Some of the salient technologies in this kitchen are:

  • Silikal Industrial Flooring – It is a completely non-porous, seamless, sealed surface thereby reducing the colonization by microbes and bacteria and contributing to better hygiene. It is skid resistant and prevents accidental slips and falls, plus it has a long durability with limited maintenance and lower lifecycle cost.
  • ReFlex Reverse Osmosys System – It is a water purifying system to make water more potable. Flexible operation and resistance to scaling and fouling greatly improve the reliability of ReFlex RO systems.
  • COMBLOCK Boiler for Steam Generation – It is the latest in Boiler Technology which combines the best of Integrated Furnace Boiler and Hybrid Boiler. While increasing efficiency by up to 85%, it can also reduce carbon footprint by up to 40%.
  • ANDICOS Waste to Energy Generation System – It is a technology to treat a combination of solid waste generated in sewage treatment process and organic kitchen waste generated in the kitchen.

To know more about the technologies used, visit: Kandi Kitchen

The ReFlex Reverse Osmosys System and ANDICOS Waste to Energy Generation System are the first of its kind technologies in India. Aside from the above-mentioned technologies, this NGO in India has also adopted Kaizen, Continuous Improvement Projects, and Six Sigma methodologies as an integral part of kitchen operations.

By taking these measures Akshaya Patra is continuously improvising and enhancing its role as a mid-day meal NGO. And, these features are solely being adopted in Akshaya Patra kitchens to enhance hygiene, increase operational efficiency, reduce cost, reduce carbon footprint, and most importantly to provide nutritious and safe meals to over 1.7 million children across 12 states of India, on every school day.