National Education Day: There’s a need to strengthen educational institutions

National Education Day

The National Education Day, the annual observance to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first education minister of independent India. It is the day commemorated to strengthen the educational institutions in the country and raise the quality of education.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad served from August 15, 1947 to February 2, 1958. He laid foundations of the education system after the country became independent. He was instrumental in establishing national education system wherein free and compulsory education, until the age of 14, was introduced. An institution like Indian Institutes of Technology was also brought in under his guidance in the year 1951. He introduced University Grants Commission in 1953. His contribution in the development of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Faculty of Technology of the Delhi University has been phenomenal. He gave importance to adult literacy.

The late South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela said: ‘‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’’ Mandela hit the nail on the head in a way that the informed individuals understand their rights and duties.

Role of NGOs is crucial in ensuring that no one is left out of the education system. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been playing a major role in ensuring that children stay in school and hence, it today reaches over 1.6 million children across the country.

The objective of celebrating the National Education Day should be to strengthen our educational institutions and raise the quality of education. It should be an occasion to remember Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s contribution in laying the foundations of the education system in Independent India as well as to evaluate performance in this field. This would go a long way in advancing India as a knowledge economy and society.

It’s also an occasion to focus on finding means to educate the people left out of the system for various reasons. Any help extended towards achieving this, through NGOs, for instance, are considered tax deductible donations.

For strong institutions and a robust education system, we not only need the adequate infrastructure, but also need good teachers who not only teach what’s prescribed in the syllabus, but are in fact, inspiring and turn the students thinking individuals.

For achieving this, the system needs to ensure that there is the right type of training given to teachers. While Akshaya Patra ensures children attend school every day by incentivising them with food, charity donations from individuals can ensure that this can be minimised.

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Donate to Akshaya Patra and Win Tax Exemptions!

No one has ever become poor by giving – Anne Frank

Food for Education is a unique concept in a country like India where there’s a large population of children who need food. These children often do not go to school. Many working parents don’t send their children to school so the latter can take care of their younger siblings back home. There are often far too many mouths to feed to worry about education. The most practical solution to this problem is to bring children to school and provide them with one-time meal, known as Mid-Day Meal.

That’s what Food for Education is all about. It’s about incentivising attendance in school. And no, children don’t leave the school premises the moment they finish their meals. They stay back and study hard. Parents now feel more motivated to send their children to schools since they know their kids would not only get food, but also they would study in a safe environment.

Akshaya Patra has been on a mission of Food for Education since the year 2000. It has been working actively alongside the government and has so far reached 13,529 schools in the country and has successfully completed 2.12 billion meals so far.

100% tax deduction benefit

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Akshaya Patra is a registered and recognised charity for children organisation that has a transparent way of finances. Donors have several ways to make a contribution while they get easy an income tax exemption. There are many benefits of offering a donation to Akshaya Patra. Donations to Akshaya Patra are eligible for 100% deduction under Section 35 AC/ 80 GGA of the Indian Income Tax.   Under Section 35 AC of the Income Tax act, the Central Government –   on recommendation from the National Committee for the Social & Economic Welfare – has notified the Project “Mid-Day Meal Programme run by The Akshaya Patra Foundation” as an eligible project for the allowing of 100% deduction of the contribution made by the Assesse.

This allows the donor to not only contribute in the cause of Food for Education but also earn a 100% tax deduction benefit. Most of the donation to other NGO qualifies for only 50% deduction under Section 80 G of the Income Tax act. But the tax deductible donation to Akshaya Patra is especially helpful for all those who wish to make a positive contribution but are often deterred by lack of funds. They can now choose to donate to Akshaya Patra.

When you make a contribution, you receive a certificate of 100% tax exemption benefit along with Thank You letter via courier or post. You may use the certificate to avail the benefit for the respective financial year. There are many reasons to donate to a great cause. This is one of them. Donate Today.

Thanksgiving Message by Akshaya Patra

None of us got to where we are alone. Whether the assistance we received was obvious or subtle, acknowledging someone’s help is a big part of understanding the importance of saying thank you. — Harvey Mackay

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Appreciation is something we all like for the hard work we do, for the achievements we make; the sound of that one very important word – Thank-you – is always like music. The level or intensity then doesn’t matter. Maybe it is a very small assistance that we provided or we did something really big for someone, appreciation always makes us feel proud and content. But how many times we do the same to other people? How many times do we express gratitude?

But first things first; what are you truly and deeply thankful for? For some people, it’s their family and friends. For others, it may be their jobs or careers. For still others, it may simply be a one-time meal or second-hand books that they get from others. Similarly, people have different ways to show their thankfulness towards what life has given them. Some like to commemorate it in grand style, some like to treat their near and dear ones, and some simply like to align it with fulfilling the needs of those who are deprived, be it the very basic human needs to survive or something else. All of these though point to that one feeling that when we are happy, we like to share and want to see the same happiness on the faces of the people around us.

The message of Thanksgiving is simply to reach out and say – Thank You. If you are one of those who are truly grateful for your life and the education you received as a child, you may choose to donate for a cause that relates to the biggest blessings of your life. Akshaya Patra offers many such opportunities where there are provisions for tax deductible donations.

What else are you thankful for? The clean air you breathe, the freedom of expression you have or the right to education that you are entitled to. Ever thought of giving it back to the society by donating for a cause such as education? You can practically be a part of this cause by lending a helping hand to the Mid-Day Meal Programme run by Akshaya Patra.

Contributions you make would result in an overall upliftment of the society in general and ultimately also help in adding to your life’s experiences. Upon looking back, you may find some of these memories worth remembering and sharing.

Thanksgiving worldwide is a holiday that’s most awaited. It is equivalent to harvest in India where farmers celebrate the arrival of the season. No wonder Thanksgiving has harvest in its root of celebration. The biggest Thanksgiving message is to be grateful for the crops, for the food and for the education that people have received year after year.

Helping others by donating to NGO’s also is often a good way of conveying gratitude. These are tax deductible donations whereby every donor gets income tax exemptions.

So, donate or pledge to donate to shape a life of those who need it.

5 Reasons You Should Donate to Akshaya Patra

Donating to charity today has become more hassle-free than before. You can opt to donate online and avail the benefits of tax deductible donations. A little effort can make a huge difference in the life of a child. At Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal programme in schools, each drop counts.

If the money we donate helps one child or can ease the pain of one parent, those funds are well spent. American restaurateur Late Carl Karcher’s contemporary quote on donating to charity stands relevant today. India struggles to remove hunger while battling with illiteracy. So every contribution counts. A tiny gesture of donation may feed a child during a mid-day meal programme in a remote school or a few hours of volunteering may brighten up someone’s day.

Akshaya Patra Foundation is able to make a huge difference in the lives of 1.5 million children simply because people like you choose to contribute.

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Here’s why you should donate:

  1. You are bringing food and literacy

By donating to Akshaya Patra, you make a two-fold contribution. Akshaya Patra strives to address issues of hunger and illiteracy. Your contribution will incentivize food, bringing many children to school. You become part of our ambition of feeding 5 million children by 2020.

  1. You know where your money is going

When you choose Akshaya Patra, you become part of a completely transparent system of donation. We comply by International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and Transparency Indian Accounting Standards issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and publish our annual report with financial audits. On an average, 84% of the total cost is used towards meeting the programme cost and 10% towards the programme management cost. 6% of the total cost is steered towards meeting fundraising and communication costs. You can read more on how Akshaya Patra spends your money here.

  1. Your contribution is futuristic

You may rest assured that your charity is going to a project that’s ongoing and intends to run until the day no child goes hungry. Our programme is technology-intensive using centralized and decentralized models that can be efficiently scaled and replicated. Akshaya Patra has kitchens in 24 locations spread across 10 states in India and growing. You are investing in a more promising future of the children.

  1. Tax deductions and CSR

All donations with Akshaya Patra are tax deductible donations so you can avail tax exemptions as per the government norms. In addition, many CSR opportunities such as cause-marketing initiatives, strategy philanthropy through funds and in-kind contributions or events and sponsorship are available for your company. Read more on CSR opportunities with Akshaya Patra here.

  1. You get to donate hassle-free

You have the option of online donations through our website or a quick donation on our mobile application. With Akshaya Patra, you get the benefit of 100% tax deductible donations in a hassle-free process where donating for a big cause is as simple as the click of a button. With as low as Rs 750, you can provide an entire academic year’s meal to a child.

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Your donation can become a lasting gift in the life of children by not only feeding them, but also bringing them to the lighthouse of education. Donate to charity today!

Good Work Leads to Tax Benefits

Act of kindness can be sealed-off by none. India has seen a great increase in the number of donors over the decade. According to World Giving Index report 2014, more than 180 million in the country contributed money for a good cause. What motivates them to do so could have various reasons; being aware of the issues in the society, understanding deeply how financial aid can solve the issue and trusting an organisation which works towards curbing those issues. But how can you benefit from aiding a social cause? Here’s your answer.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO feeding mid-day meals to more than 1.5 million government school children in India, gives you the benefit to avail 100% tax exemption. The Foundation has been built on the belief that no child in India should be deprived of education due to hunger. Therefore, as an act of goodwill, the organisation started a Mid-Day Meal Scheme in 2000 with a view to enhance school enrolment and curb classroom hunger. Like Socrates once said, ‘Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.’ Although it is a government’s rule that children below the age of 16 are given free education, many children still choose menial jobs because the survival of family demands it.

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You as a donor can avail tax exemption with Akshaya Patra which is registered under section 35 AC/80 GGA of the Income Tax Act 1961. It allows resident taxpayers to sanction 100% tax exemption for every donation above Rs. 500. This is especially beneficial since most other NGOs are registered under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act which allows you to sanction only a 50% tax exemption. Once we receive the tax deductible donations, you will receive a proof of your contribution. Within ten days of making the donation, you will receive an acknowledgment receipt, a 100% tax exemption certificate and a Thank you letter via post from The Foundation.

If you are an NRI (Non-Resident Indian) and would like to make a contribution, you will also be eligible for the 100% tax exemption under section 35 AC/80 GGA of the Income Tax Act. Thanks to the Government of India and the donors, Akshaya Patra has grown by leaps and bounds. While there are multiple donation options on our website, you also have a choice of creating a personalised fundraising campaign on the website or on Akshaya Patra’s mobile app. Once you create the campaign for a certain amount, you will be able to track the progress and share the campaign on social media as well.

Today, The Foundation feeds nutritious and wholesome meals to more than 1.5 million children across India. In a country where more than 200 million people go hungry every day, it becomes a necessity for the society to get involved to witness a greater change. We are inching towards that transformation while we aim to feed 5 million children by 2020 to ensure they lead a fuller life! To support our cause, you can make your donation online.

How Children in Telangana Benefit from Akshaya Patra

It is only by doing service to others we can find the relevance of our existence. There are children in government schools who cannot pursue education for lack of food. The children crave to remain in classrooms, play with friends, remain independent and look after their family when they grow up. But when circumstances are not favorable they tend to be drop-outs.

The literacy rate in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are lower than all India average of 69 percent. In Andhra Pradesh, the percentage of dropouts are 58.9 while 67.2 in Telangana. Most of them are from families who are engaged in farming, whose parents are daily wage labourers. During the summers, when the agricultural yield is poor, most of the parents even discontinue their children’s education.

As a successful NGO in Telangana, Akshaya Patra serves free mid-day meals to these children with support from the government. Since 2008, the non-profit organisation has been serving free mid-day meals to 54,849 children in 454 government schools. The organisation has its largest mechanised centralised kitchen in Hyderabad with state-of-the-art cooking equipment’s that are capable of cooking huge quantities of food. A variety of rice items as biriyani, puliyogare, bisibele bath, peanut rice, jeera rice, tomato rice and khichadi are served. Even savouries and fruits are also served.

Let us hear what the beneficiaries have to say of the mid-day meal in Telangana.

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Monica Devi, a 15-year old girl studying in Zilla Parishad High School, who belongs to a broken family says, “I am very fond of the meal provided by Akshaya Patra and potato-brinjal curry is my all-time favourite.”  “Just before lunch, my friends and I can’t stop thinking about the meal,” she adds.

Read more about Monica at: This Akshaya Patra Beneficiary is a True Victor

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Venu, a 5th standard student whose parents are daily wage earners says, “My favourite is the aloo biryani served on every Thursday.” “My friends and I make sure we don’t miss school on Thursday because of the biryani,” adds Venu.

Read more about Venu at: Exploring more with a language

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Soujanya, an 8th standard beneficiary is a class topper whose parents are daily-wage labourers. She says, “I’m lucky to have the Akshaya Patra meals. It is nutritious and tasty. It helps me concentrate in class” She further adds, “I am fond of the fruits and loves the biryani served.”

Read more about Soujanya at: Perfect with Numbers

Teachers opine that despite the sporadic dropout rate, the enrolment rate has increased by 2%. Most of the students are regular as they are served free nutritious mid-day meals Thus the non-profit organisation not only serves food but also supports education.

For many children in government schools, the mid-day meal is an important aspect of their daily lives. Let us serve unlimited food for education.  It takes Rs. 750 to feed a child for a year! Donations of Rs. 500 or above are considered as tax deductible donations. (Every donation of Rs. 500 or above to Akshaya Patra is eligible for 100% tax exemption under section 35 AC or 50% tax exemption under Section 80G of the Indian Income Tax under section 35 AC or 50% tax exemption under Section 80G of the Indian Income Tax.

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.

Support your team and Akshaya Patra with #TicketToCheer

Ticket to cheer

Support your favourite team and an Akshaya Patra beneficiary by buying a #TicketToCheer! This initiative which is supported by ESPNcricinfo, foodpanda and freecharge allows fans to show their love for cricket, their spirit of sportsmanship and their desire to end childhood hunger in India. Supporters can purchase a ticket and as a result feed one child the mid-day meal for an entire year.

To support this initiative which is in aid of Akshaya Patra, all one needs to do is:

  • Log onto #TicketToCheer, and select the team and match you are rooting for
  • Choose the number of tickets to purchase – Each ticket value is Rs, 750, the amount to feed a child the Akshaya Patra mid-day meal for a year
  • Receive the personalised Ticket To Cheer
  • Share this ticket on social media

The #TicketToCheer programme provides a platform for fans to celebrate the world cup and express their support for Akshaya Patra’s programme via social media. In addition to this, the contributions are eligible for a 100% tax exemption for amounts above Rs. 500/-

However TicketToCheer is a social media initiative to address the common love for the cricket world cup and Akshaya Patra’s cause. It does not provide access to the ongoing world cup.

Log onto #TicketToCheer to support your favourite team and feed a child now.

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