Consider tax exemption for a cause

The universe has a unique way of working and we never know how and when it brings us an opportunity to support and do something good for others. Here is a small incidence that introduced me to the path of charity. Just a week ago, I was consulting with my friend on how to cut down on tax. During the discussion, we came upon various ways such as housing loan, house rent allowance, children education allowance, medical insurance, donations, and the like. Though I had heard of these means, but contributing donation was something new for me. Curiously, I furthered the discussion on it. And, patiently my friend familiarised me with the whole concept of tax deduction on charity, the gist of which I have narrated below.

Food for children

Witnessing the impactful groundwork of NGOs, the Government of India has made a provision wherein contributing donations to registered NGOs or charitable trusts can exempt you from paying taxes on the donated amount under Section 80G. You can either claim for 100% or 50% exemption on the donated amount based upon the NGO you have donated and the terms set by the Income Tax Act. This is applicable for both online donations and offline donations.

For instance, I identify with children-specific causes such as the right to education, child rights, and child health and development. So, I chose to contribute my taxable income to The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme in association with the Central Government of India and various State Governments. The Mid-Day Meal Programme is an initiative that provides freshly cooked nutritious school lunch to government school and government-aided school children on all school days. And, Akshaya Patra aims at providing ‘unlimited food for education’ with the intention of supporting the education of children. This NGO has been in the service of children for the past 17 years, with a current beneficiary base of over 1.6 million children across 34 locations in 12 states of India. The tangible impact of Akshaya Patra is clearly visible in the stories of children and the impact studies that have been conducted in association with third-party research agencies.

Personally, I was convinced with the service of Akshaya Patra and decided to make my foray into charity by donating to the Foundation. For more information on charity tax exemption, just click on tax-deductible donations. I am glad that I am saving tax by supporting millions of children, and would suggest everyone to connect with the cause.

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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.

The impact of mid-day meal in Rajasthan

In 2002, Rajasthan became one of the first states to implement the SC directive of providing cooked mid-day meals in government and government-aided schools across all its 32 districts. Since then there have been noticeable changes in the school environment resulting in increased enrolment at the elementary level, particularly of the girl child, significant improvement in health and quality of education, decrease in school drop-out rate, while also addressing the hunger and malnutrition issue to quite an extent. A 2016 study titled, ‘School Feeding and Learning Achievement: Evidence from India’s Midday Meal Program’ stated, ‘Continued exposure to mid-day meals contributed to an increase in test scores. Reading scores improved by 18% for children exposed for five years to mid-day meals, in comparison to children who had been exposed to mid-day meals for less than a year. The arithmetic test scores witnessed an improvement of 9%.’ To further this impact, The Akshaya Patra Foundation made its advancement towards Rajasthan in February 2004 as a mid-day meal serving NGO in Jaipur.

mid-day meal impact in Rajasthan

Akshaya Patra began its service with the introduction of the Jaipur kitchen in February 2004, followed by Baran (2005), Nathdwara (2006), Jodhpur (2013), and Ajmer (2016). To facilitate its Mid-Day Meal Programme, Akshaya Patra follows the centralised format of kitchen in Jaipur, Nathdwara, Jodhpur, and Ajmer, and operates the decentralised format in Baran for being a remote area. The three kitchens at Jaipur, Nathdwara, and Ajmer are ISO 22000:2005 certified facilities affirming the NGO’s commitment towards cleanliness, hygiene and other vital aspects of kitchen operations. Acknowledging the importance of maintaining a local taste for children to enjoy their meal, Akshaya Patra’s menu for mid-day meal in Rajasthan include rice, roti (Indian flatbread), dal (lentils curry), pulao (a rice-based dish cooked in a seasoned broth) and vegetable dishes. The strategic expansion of the NGO has resulted in its current beneficiary base of 1,70,723 children in 2,672 schools.

Taking reference from two impact studies: Akshaya Patra: Feeding India’s Schoolchildren – Harvard Business School 2007, and Assessment of Mid-Day Meal Programme in eight states – Sigma Research and Consulting Pvt. Ltd. 2014, it is observed that Akshaya Patra’s school meal programme resulted in consistent attendance of children, decrease in drop-outs and long absences, improved concentration, and significant improvements in nutritional level, height, and weight. Along with impacting the lives of children in Rajasthan, Akshaya Patra is also feeding children across 11 more states and has a total beneficiary base of over 1.6 million children. While it is moving ahead on its path to feed 5 million children by 2020, it requires your generous support. By choosing to donate towards this NGO you will also avail the benefits under 80G tax exemption in India. Come and join in the efforts of Akshaya Patra so that ‘No child in India is deprived of education because of hunger.’

How to make this Diwali special by involving in a social cause

Make this festival of lights special. There are numerous ways to do it. But by involving social cause in your celebration, you would be spreading joy among others too.

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How can you do so? One can get involved with a social cause. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one such avenue for anyone looking to share their happiness with the disadvantaged. While you are ensuring someone is getting a chance to be happy, it’s a chance to light up many lives.

The non-profit fundraising ideas of an NGO, especially a credible one like Akshaya Patra, would be a good means of ensuring you have reached the right target group or groups.

Happiness cannot be measured, but can be felt, and can be contagious. If someone you know also notices that they too can be a part of the social cause, it’s no less than magical. Imagine the number of lives you can touch while indirectly encouraging others too to be part of the cause.

You can either make the donation yourself directly to the foundation or organize various fundraising activities. These can be anything engaging. The profit generated out of this can be used to donate towards the cause of feeding children. This way your source of joy will not be limited to your family and friends. Even these children whom you will be donating meals to can make you happy. As you donate towards the cause, you will be eligible for tax exemption in India.

This is just one of the ways you can reach the target group. In this case, mostly school children. By donating just Rs 950, you can assure a child a meal for one entire year. Apart from just filling their stomach, this will also help them prioritise studies over work.

Contribute towards ensuring every child in India is well-fed and educated. Donate to charity today.

Mid-Day Meals in School Motivate Children to Aspire High

There are several benefits of the mid-day meal scheme being run by The Akshaya Patra Foundation in schools. Many of these benefits relate to the health of the children and their physical and mental growth. However, a bonus about this service is that children learn to have aspirations about their career.

Feed a dream

These children, who are beneficiaries of mid-day meal in states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka or Madhya Pradesh, become conscious of their career choices. For instance, Sanjana Borashetti, a student of Class VIII in a Government school in Huballi, scores highest in her class. She is motivated to come to school because she never wants to miss the benefits of the mid-day meal scheme being run in her school.

Since often her house is deprived of electricity, she wishes to work in the direction of public amenities. She wants to become a district collector when she grows up.

When Sanjana experienced the basic benefit of the mid-day meal scheme, she understood the importance of fulfilling basic necessities for others.

Be it in Tamil Nadu or Madhya Pradesh, the mid-day meal is being served keeping the local cuisine in mind. Thus, children enjoy food and never miss school. Regular attendance keeps them informed about the world and inspires them to compete with their peers.

Many of these children get sponsorships from various donors who give generously for Akshaya Patra. The donors get the benefit of tax exemption. But nothing makes the donors happier than reading success stories of children who dream for their future.

If you are someone who wish to help children receive the benefits of mid-day meal scheme, do lend us a helping hand. Your donations are eligible for tax exemptions. As Akshaya Patra observes the Hunger Action Month and focuses its attention towards states like Tamil Nadu, you can choose to help today.

Why Children Need a Wholesome Meal

What makes the world’s largest NGO-run mid-day meal programme significant? It’s because it feeds the children with wholesome meal. This kind of meal aids in growth of their body and mind. During their childhood, children are more prone to develop at least one of the micronutrient deficiencies such as vitamin A, iodine, iron, zinc or folate. They must be given a wholesome meal in sufficient quantity to ensure their body develops with their age.

Food for children

The mid-day meal programme run by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO that has kitchens across India. One of them is in Surat. From their state-of-the-art kitchen in Surat, the meal is supplied to various schools in and around Surat.

The NGO is feeding the children in Surat as part of its nation-wide programme that’s run in collaboration with the Government. This programme lays emphasis on the wholesomeness of the meals because these meals directly impact children’s growth. The NGO, that began operations in the year 2000, works in active collaboration with the government and government-run schools in order to feed the children.

In Surat, the school children are especially excited as they are getting their favourite meals every day served by the NGO’s volunteers. As part of the Hunger Action Month, the NGO is trying to take mid-day meals to more schools in Surat and other parts of Gujarat.

The contributors or donors to the NGO get the benefit of 80G deduction in income tax. That way more donors are encouraged to contribute and help in feeding the children. However, it’s not just the 80G deduction that encourages people. Many people in the city take out time to volunteer in the kitchen. They help the staff in cooking the meals and serving it to the children.

The kitchen of this NGO in Surat especially uses pulses such as Toor dal, fortified soy dal, green gram whole, Urad dal, peas, Moong dal, cow pea, green gram sprouts, soy products like- chunks, flakes, Gram dal, Bengal gram whole, channa dal etc. while preparing the meals. Since the menu is already in place, the meals are always healthy and wholesome and benefit the children.

Feeding the children with wholesome meals is significant today if we want our children to experience a healthy growth. You can join us this month as we observe Hunger Action Month and attempt to eliminate hunger among children in India.

This Teacher’s Day, Let’s Make Education Accessible to Children

A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart, it is said. And when children are free to use their hands for writing, their mind for thinking and their heart for learning, true education happens. But many children in India are deprived of education due to inaccessibility to school. They are forced to work to earn their meals. The need to for donation for education in India is a need of the hour.

Teachers day

Every year on Teachers’ Day, we hear amazing tales of extraordinary teachers who chose children charity as a mission of their lives. We learn about some of them who went an extra mile to donate or teach or volunteer for education in India. Many of these set great examples of teaching or doing children charity, became life mentors and brought several children to the light of education.

Our heart especially reaches out to hundreds of dedicated teachers serving in Government or Government-aided schools.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation serves mid-day meals to children in thousands of such schools. The volunteers interact with teachers who freely extend their support to the foundation in serving a wholesome lunch. These teachers encourage children to enjoy their meals and come to the school regularly.

The foundation is observing Hunger Month in September by educating teachers and students about the ill effects of under nourishment. The organisation is spreading awareness about the need to feed the children through charity or donation. We are thankful to teachers who are helping us fight hunger this month.

You may be a teacher or someone who is touched by a teacher’s charity. You may consider helping the society by donating for education in India. All donations with The Akshaya Patra Foundation gain income tax exemption. Donate today.

Get Insights on How to Make a Difference by Donating

Have you experienced the feeling of making a difference? It’s fulfilling. Many Akshaya Patra donors have helped Mid-Day Meal Programme in reaching out to millions of school children every day. Whether it’s a small or big amount, we are sure that the amount has made a big impact. Donating not only creates a positive environment for children’s future, but also ensures your good health by leaving you joyous. Incredibly!

How to make a difference by donating?

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If you have not tried donating earlier, you might be a bit skeptical about donating for a cause. What we would like to say is try something small. For example, a simple thing you can do is gift a stationery kit or an exam kit to a child who comes from an economically weak background. Here are two ways you can make a difference by donating towards children’s growth.

Sponsor a child

There are millions of Akshaya Patra beneficiaries whose responsibility could be in your hands. Out of millions of children we reach out to, you could take responsibility of one by donating Rs 950. This amount ensures the child receives mid-day meals for an entire year! Also, the good news is your donation, under section 80G of Income Tax, can get you 100% income tax exemption benefit. All you have to do is choose to sponsor a child.

Pay someone’s fees

Many children drop out of school and colleges due to the burden of fees. While the Indian Government has taken a great initiative to provide free education for children between 6 to 14 years, many children, once they move out of high school, their expenditure blocks them from studying further. You can take the responsibility to identify the person and pay his or her fees for the year! This will fulfill their dreams to learn!

What does Akshaya Patra do?

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and many other states, feeding over 1.6 million school children every day. The organisation takes pride in having encouraged millions of children, through mid-day meals, to enroll in schools and be a part of education system. What makes this organisation the world’s largest NGO-run feeding programme is noteworthy; the organisation began its humble service in the year 2000 with immense support from government, corporates, donors and many volunteers who have contributed to the cause and also donated to charity, the organisation has grown in leaps and bounds.

You can support Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme by donating for this cause while you also have the option to fundraise on our website.

Taking the Leap to Fight Hunger: Expanding Footprints in India

The cause of ‘food for education’ urgently needs a boost and Akshaya Patra is expanding its reach across the country to achieve this. With its mission – ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’ – the Foundation is marching ahead to erase classroom hunger in India. The role of NGOs in India – to bring about social betterment – is fulfilled by the Foundation in partnership with State and Central governments in India. Its current reach of over 1.6 million beneficiaries, who receive a wholesome mid-day meal every day, is set to take a big leap.

In 2016, the Foundation established its presence in Maharashtra by launching its very first kitchen in the state in Nagpur. In Andhra Pradesh, it added two more kitchens – at Kakinada and Mangalagiri. In neighbouring Telangana, Akshaya Patra laid the foundation stone for its first high-tech mega kitchen at Khandi in Telangana. Come the next academic year, this kitchen will feed more than 1,00,000 children in the region and its construction cost will be borne by the Infosys Foundation, which has donated for education in India by making a contribution of Rs 18.03 crore towards the Foundation for this project.

our-reach

December 2016 also saw the Foundation set the stage for a major expansion in Uttar Pradesh. It will set up 11 new kitchens in the state in the districts of Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Rampur and Ballia. Shri Akhilesh Yadav, Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the same, on December 26, 2016 at Lok Bhavan, New Secretariat, Lucknow. These new kitchens will expand the Foundation’s reach to 13 lakh beneficiaries in UP from 2,11,680 children it is presently feeding, benefitting 10,88,320 more children from the next academic year.

To reach out to millions more children in the country and aid their quest for education via nutritious mid-day meals, the Foundation needs the support of all the individuals committed to eradicating classroom hunger. Join Akshaya Patra in nourishing the health and furthering the education of India’s children by making a donation towards it. These donations also avail donors tax exemptions under sections 35AC and 80GGA of the Income Tax Act.

Help secure the future of India’s children. Support ‘unlimited food for education’!

Of Quality Education: what defines quality?

Running a children’s charity would mean providing the little ones the basic necessities of life which they are deprived of for various reasons. Akshaya Patra opened its doors to Indian children in the year 2000 by providing them mid-day meals in government schools and government-aided schools. Vision: No child should be deprived of education because of hunger.

Ever since India began its Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the drop-out rates have decreased and enrolment rates in schools have increased. However, Mid-Day Meal is only one of the factors in making this possible. With the help of central and state governments, Akshaya Patra, an NGO in India, has been providing mid-day meals to school children for the last 16 years.

Now with more and more children in schools, the country is focusing on Quality Education – one of the goals proposed by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). In 2015, the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) proposed Sustainable Development Goals to 194 countries. Among the 17 aspirational goals with objective to transform the world, the fourth goal is Quality Education. Akshaya Patra is playing a vital role as an NGO in India in education sector, highlights the understanding on Quality Education.

sdgs-by-food-for-educaion

What is Quality Education?

According to a paper presented by UNICEF, five points define Quality Education.

  • Learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities;
  • Environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities;
  • Content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention and peace;
  • Processes through which trained teachers use child-centered teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skillful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities;
  • Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.

(Source: unicef.org/education/files/QualityEducation.PDF)

The first point talks about students who are ‘healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate.’ This very objective is followed by Akshaya Patra in its large-scale feeding initiatives.

Quality Education, we believe leads to remarkable success. With literacy rates rising, we should also focus on providing inclusive and quality education to ensure progress.

UNDP states: “Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to a quality higher education.”

Akshaya Patra’s Food for Education initiative embraces two most critical sustainable development goals – Zero Hunger and Quality Education. You can show your support by sponsoring a child’s meal for an entire academic year. Make a charity donation and win tax exemption in India.