Akshaya Patra Foundation

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The Akshaya Patra Foundation commonly known as Akshaya Patra is a non-profit organisation in India that runs school lunch programme across India.[1] The organisation was established in 2000.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation
The Akshaya Patra Foundation Logo.png
Founded 2000
Type Not for Profit - Registered Trust
Slogan "Unlimited Food for Education"
Website http://www.akshayapatra.org/


Over a period of time a visible improvement in the health of the children was witnessed along with increased enrollment, steady attendance and better concentration during class hours. The initial days of implementing the programme was not smooth sailing for the Foundation. The main concern was lack of vessels and vehicles to pack and transport the cooked food to the schools. Mohandas Pai and Abhay Jain, two of the pioneer philanthropists of the Foundation were instrumental in bringing some relief. Mohandas Pai stepped in by donating the first vehicle to deliver food to the schools and Abhay Jain assured to get more donors to further the programme.

Once the Mid-Day Meal Scheme was mandated centrally by the Government of India in 2003, Akshaya Patra partnered with the Government to serve cooked meals at all Government schools. To be able to work towards tackling classroom hunger in association with the Government on the format of Public Private Partnership[2] was a welcome progression for Akshaya Patra. This Partnership works towards meeting the following objectives:

  • Eliminating classroom hunger
  • Increasing school enrolment
  • Increasing school attendance
  • Improving socialisation among castes
  • Addressing malnutrition, and
  • Women empowerment

Mid-Day Meal[edit]

To improve primary education and counter classroom hunger the Government of India has developed two of the most significant programmes-

  1. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA); and
  2. Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS)

Through the flagship programme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the Government of India aims to achieve Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time bound manner, by making available free and compulsory education to the children aged between 6–14 years.

However, the socio-economic scenario of India did require an incentive to further the SSA initiative. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme came by as an answer. The MDMS focuses on providing free school lunch at all Government schools in order to enhance enrollment, retention and attendance among children and also simultaneously to improve their nutritional levels. It was indeed a noteworthy initiative as the impact of this Scheme was progressively seen across the country. Witnessing the impact, the education sector received a 17% increase in budget allocation for the programme. A total of around 11 crore children across 12 lakh schools are benefiting from the MDMS programme.

Akshaya Patra implements the Mid- Day Meal programme in 27 locations of 11 states of India. Each day the Foundation feeds 1.6 million children covering more than 13,529 Government schools. The Foundation follows both centralised and decentralised kitchen formats to implement the programme . The NP-NSPE guidelines cite the Foundation's centralised kitchen format as a model infrastructure for large scale production of mid-day meals. Akshaya Patra also serves as a Member of the National Steering-cum-Monitoring Committee (NSMC) for the Mid-Day Meal Programme.

The Akshaya Patra Kitchen Infrastructure will give an overview of its compliance to Food Safety and Quality Standards while preparing the meals. 12 centralised kitchens of the Foundation are ISO 22000:2005 certified and the remaining are in the process of getting certification.Working in partnership with the Central Government and various State Governments, along with the support of numerous philanthropists Akshaya Patra strives to feed 5 million children by 2020.

As an extension of its vegetarian philosophy, Akshaya Patra does not provide eggs in its MDMS programmes but by incorporating alternatives such as milk & bananas - It provides meals that are prepared scientifically and with required nutritional value. The food distributed by Akshaya Patra is perceived to be "hygienic, nutritious and delicious".[3][4][5][6][7]

Other Programmes[edit]

Certain that the primary cause of Akshaya Patra is to actually compliment the creation of Srila Prabhupada by implementation of the mid-day meal programme.[8] But, apart from the mid-day meal programme Akshaya Patra implements other feeding and socio-developmental initiatives too. Some of the programmes are:

Feeding Programmes Socio-developmental Initiatives
Anganwadi feeding After class tuitions
Feeding expecting and lactating mothers Life skills programme
Feeding programmes in special schools Community health camps
Subsidised lunch for the economically backward Scholarship programmes
Feeding runaway children Health check-up camps
Feeding programmes in old-age homes
Feeding the homeless
Disaster relief

"Apart from the above initiatives, the Foundation also works towards social initiatives like:"

  • After class tuitions
  • Community health camps
  • Health check-up camps
  • Life-skills programmes
  • Scholarship programmes


In general, surveys show that since the implementation of Mid-day Meal Programme by the Government and various NGOs, there has been an upward surge in school enrolment and attendance of the children. Studies also indicate that this programme has been able to reduce drop-out rate.

The impact of the mid-day meal has been witnessed in all the serving locations of Akshaya Patra. There have been few studies conducted to evaluate the impact of the programme implementation by the Foundation. The studies are as follows: AC Nielsen Impact Study and Harvard Case Study. Some of the Government Studies are:

  1. Governance Knowledge Centre
  2. Ministry of Human Resource Development
    • Situation Analysis of Mid-Day Meal programme in Rajasthan
    • Report on Akshara Dasoha Scheme of Karnataka

Below is the summary of findings of the impact studies:

  1. Increased enrolment – The mid-day meal acts as a great incentive for children to come to school. As more often than not, this meal becomes the child’s only meal for the day, it also acts parents to send their children to school.
  2. Increased attendance – Children look forward to coming to school every day because of the mid-day meal. As the Akshaya Patra meal caters to the regional palate it further suits the taste buds of the children and draws them to attend school.
  3. Increased concentration – A stomach full of freshly cooked nutritious and healthy mid-day meal keeps classroom hunger at bay and increases the child's concentration in class.
  4. Improved socialisation – As the meal served by Akshaya Patra can be consumed universally by children of all caste and community it has fostered the habit of eating together. This intermingling has increased the unity among children of various religions and castes. It has also helped in removing divisional hierarchy in terms of social standing thereby enhancing a sense of equality among all children.
  5. Addressed malnutrition – Through the mid-day meal Akshaya Patra is striving to meet the nutritional requirements of children such as energy, carbohydrates, proteins and fat for school children.
  6. Empowered women – Women have been employed by the Foundation in different capacities in operations and other functional areas. Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) have also been appointed in De-centralised kitchen set-up for the cooking and managing the processes involved in mid-day meal preparation under the guidance of Akshaya Patra’s standard operating process. This opportunity has doubly benefited them by boosting their self-esteem and improving their social standing.


Akshaya Patra feeds 16,10,396 children every day across India.[9] It is operational across 27 locations in 11 states of India and It follows the Centralised Kitchen format in 25 locations and De-centralised Kitchen format in 2 locations. Below is the list of state-wise presence of Akshaya Patra:

State / Location Type of Kitchen Year of establishment Number of Children Number of Schools
Andhra Pradesh 49,409 290
Vishakhapatnam Centralised Kitchen October 2008 21,850 91
Kakinada Centralised Kitchen December 2015 11,491 27
Mangalagiri Centralised Kitchen 2016 16,068 172
Assam 47,249 607
Guwahati Centralised Kitchen February 2010 47,249 607
Chhattisgarh 29,835 192
Bhilai Centralised Kitchen January 2009 29,835 192
Gujarat 3,66,709 1,475
Ahmedabad Centralised Kitchen August 2014 1,15,578 522
Vadodara Centralised Kitchen November 2009 1,07,838 616
Surat Centralised Kitchen June 2012 1,43,293[10] 337
Karnataka 4,86,172 2,968
Bangalore- HK Hill Centralised Kitchen June 2000 96,635 635
Ballari Centralised Kitchen July 2006 1,11,333 577
Hubballi Centralised Kitchen July 2004 1,36,111 807
Mangaluru Centralised Kitchen December 2004 17,024 139
Mysuru Centralised Kitchen August 2004 23,450 164
Bangalore-Vasanthapura Centralised Kitchen July 2007 1,01,619 646
Odisha 1,80,140 1,840
Bhubaneshwar Centralised Kitchen July 2014 58,087 417
Puri Centralised Kitchen June 2006 49,078 661
Nayagarh Decentralised Kitchen March 2007 23,976 342
Rourkela Centralised Kitchen November 2013 48,999 420
Rajasthan 1,70,723 2,672
Jaipur Centralised Kitchen February 2004 1,02,352 1,624
Nathdwara Centralised Kitchen June 2006 28,009 561
Baran Decentralised Kitchen April 2005 11,020 155
Jodhpur Centralised Kitchen August 2013 13,109 140
Ajmer Centralised Kitchen 2016 16,233 192
Uttar Pradesh 2,11,680 3,021
Lucknow Centralised Kitchen March 2015 91,418 1,011
Vrindavan Centralised Kitchen August 2004 1,20,262 2,010
Maharashtra 5728
Nagpur Centralised Kitchen 5728
Tamil Nadu 718 1
Chennai Centralised Kitchen July 2011 718 1
Telangana 62,020 463
Hyderabad Centralised Kitchen October 2008 62,020 463

Akshaya Patra USA[edit]

With people's overwhelming and enduring support, Akshaya Patra USA exceeded its fundraising goal of $3.2m for 2012 by raising $5.6m. This included a generous grant of $2m by Caterpillar Foundation for building a kitchen in Uttar Pradesh, India.[11]

Child sponsorship[edit]

Akshaya Patra aims to counter classroom hunger[12] and aid in education of children. A donation of Rs 950 can serve a wholesome mid-day meal to one child for one whole academic year. The Foundation also has different modes of sponsorship that can be chosen by any donor to help this charitable cause. The sponsor can choose from the below list of options:

  • Online/Offline donation
  • Sponsor a meal delivery vehicle
  • Sponsor a school for a year
  • Sponsor kitchen equipment
  • Engage his/her organisation as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative

The Foundation is eligible to provide income tax benefits to its donors under section 35AC of the Income Tax Act of the Government of India. Any donation of above Rs. 500 towards the NGO is eligible for 100% tax exemption[13] under this Act.

Financial information[edit]

In keeping with the principle of transparency, the Foundation complies with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and with the Indian Accounting Standards issued by the Institute of Chartered accountants of India (ICAI) for reporting its financials year-on-year. Akshaya Patra publishes its Annual Report with audited financial reports and makes it available for all its stakeholders, at the end of every financial year.

As a standard process of audit systems to ensure effectiveness of the internal controls, Akshaya Patra has appointed Chartered Accountant firms of repute, as Branch Auditors. The Branch Auditors submit the audited reports of their respective branches to the Management on a periodical basis. These reports are then reviewed by the Audit Committee through the Audit Department of the Foundation.

On an average, 82% of the total cost is used towards meeting the programme cost and 14% is utilised as programme management cost. 4% of the total cost is steered towards meeting fundraising and communication costs. As of March 2013, around 51% of funding (amounting to Rs. 40,668 lakhs) has been accounted for by Central and State Government grants and subsidies, allowing the Foundation to raise the remaining 49%.

Affiliated organisations[edit]

The Akshaya Patra Foundation has received helping aid and goodwill support from many noteworthy organisations. Below is a list of few of the organisations; however this list is not exhaustive.

  • CISCO[14]
  • ABB Limited[15]
  • Genpact India
  • Jindal Aluminium
  • Maple Exports Pvt. Ltd.
  • Jamsetji Tata Trust[16]
  • HDFC Bank Ltd[17]
  • Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL)[18]
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC)[19]
  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL)[20]
  • Hans Foundation[21]
  • Give India
  • Kennametal Foundation[22]
  • Michael and Susan Dell Foundation[23]

Awards and Recognitions[edit]

Akshaya Patra has been recipient of quite a few significant national and international awards.

Recent awards[edit]

  • Ranked 58th out of the 100 Best Annual Reports of 2014, in the ARC 100 Gallery by MerComm Inc.[24]
  • Gold under the 'Foundation' category of Non-Traditional Annual Reports in the ARC Awards 2014 by MerComm Inc[25]
  • Gold Award for the '44th Creativity International Print & Packaging Design Awards' for its Annual Report 2012-13[26]
  • Silver Award at Summit International Creative Award 2014 for creative representation of the Annual Report 2012-13 for the second time, with first silver for Annual Report 2011-12
  • 20th Annual Communicator Award of Distinction for overall design in the Print category for Annual Report 2012-13
  • Gold Shield Award by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for five consecutive financial years for Excellence in Financial Reporting: Annual Report 2008-09; 2009–10; 2010–11; 2011–12; 2012-13[27]
  • Gold Award for Annual Report 2011-12 by SAFA (South Asian Federation of Accountants)[28]
  • CII National Award for Food Safety 2013[29]
  • Gold Award at League of American Communications Professionals LACP 2012/13 Vision Awards[30]
  • Ranked 34th among Top 100 Annual Reports Worldwide at League of American Communications Professionals LACP 2012/13 Vision Awards[31]
  • Gold Award at Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) Corporate Collateral Awards 2014
  • Honorary Award on Social Responsibility by LASSIB Society[32]

Significant recognitions[edit]

  • Akshaya Patra has been nominated to be the Member of National Steering-cum-Monitoring Committee (NSMC) for Mid-Day Meal Programme[33]
  • Akshaya Patra is the first NGO to have got enlisted in the ICAI Hall of Fame and it is the third entry across all industries[34]
  • The Foundation is ranked 23rd among Top 100 NGOs by The Global Journal in its 2013 edition[35]
  • It is featured as one of the 8 game changers in the inaugural issue of Innowin- India’s first magazine dedicated to innovation
  • Limca Book of Records[36] and India Book of Records recognises Akshaya Patra as running 'The world's largest school meal programme’[37]
  • A documentary on Akshaya Patra was featured on National Television-Doordarshan


Below is a graphical representation of cumulative number of meals served in the past years:

Akshaya Patra time line


  1. ^ Mid Day Meal Scheme
  2. ^ Public Private Parternship
  3. ^ "Schools prefer midday meals supplied by Akshaya Patra". 
  4. ^ "meals provided were prepared scientifically and with required nutritional value". 
  5. ^ "Government plans Saturday upgrade for midday meals". 
  6. ^ "food prepared by Akshaya Patra has been found to be the HIGHEST QUALITY FOOD and prepared in the CLEANEST environment among all midday meal providers in India". 
  7. ^ "Revamp quality of mid-day meals by relooking at the nutrient intake". 
  8. ^ Akshaya Patra is implementation of the mid-day meal programme
  9. ^ feeds 1.6 million children every day across India
  10. ^ 1.65 lakh children served hot midday meal in Surat
  11. ^ The Akshaya Patra Team USA
  12. ^ classroom hunger
  13. ^ 100 % tax exemption
  14. ^ CISCO
  15. ^ ABB Limited
  16. ^ Jamsetji Tata Trust
  17. ^ HDFC
  18. ^ SAIL
  19. ^ ONGC
  20. ^ BHEL
  21. ^ Hans Foundation
  22. ^ Kennametal Foundation - Pgno:14
  23. ^ Michael and Susan Dell Foundation
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ [2]
  26. ^ [3]
  27. ^ Akshaya Patra gets Gold Shield and Hall of Fame by ICAI for the year 2012-13
  28. ^ Gold Award for Annual Report 2011-12 by SAFA
  29. ^ CII National Award for Food Safety 2013
  30. ^ Gold Award at LACP 2012/13 Vision Awards
  31. ^ Ranked 34th among Top 100 Annual Reports Worldwide at LACP 2012/13 Vision Awards
  32. ^ Honorary Award on Social Responsibility by LASSIB Society
  33. ^ Akshaya Patra nominated NSMC FOR Mid-Day Meal Programme
  34. ^ Akshaya Patra is the first NGO to have got enlisted in the ICAI Hall of Fame and it is the third entry across all industries
  35. ^ The Foundation is ranked 23rd among Top 100 NGOs by The Global Journal in its 2013 edition
  36. ^ Limca Book of Records
  37. ^ world's largest school meal programme

External links[edit]