What’s our CTC- Cost to a Child


We often ignore or overlook serious issues that affect our society in a grave manner. With some people it could be unintended, because they are in a relatively comfortable position than the underprivileged. With other people, the most common assumption is that making this world a better place would take tedious effort and a lot of their time. However, when it comes to making a child happy and securing his or her future, the above reasons are incorrect. All it takes to feed a child through the year, and retain his presence in school so he gets educated and grows up to leave a mark in the society is Rs 750. It is that simple and only a click away.

However, one must wonder how the amount to feed a child for a whole year is only Rs 750. It is the result of a meticulously planned and executed procedure to spend this amount on a child’s midday meal at school. Here’s how it is done:

The Total Cost Per Meal to feed a child per day is 7.40 paise. We get a government subsidy through grain and grant that amounts to 4.38 paise. The amount borne by Akshaya Patra is 3.01 paise. The total operations time in a year for the kitchen staff is 232 days. When added over 232 days, this leads to a total of Rs 698.32. However, various aspects need to be considered for the organisation while utilising this amount. One of these is inflation. An estimated level of rise in the prices of raw materials is considered while summing up. This is usually 7.5 per cent of the cost assumed by Akshaya Patra which comes up to Rs 52. All of this adds up to Rs 750.

Furthermore, the cost per meal varies in every state based of different parameters and the average cost of these results in Rs 750. Here’s a representation of the same: (Click on image to view it)


Extend your support in making us reach out to more children who leave school because they need to earn a living. Donate now and help a child stay in school.

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Inspiring children who are #HungryForSchool

Inspiring children who are #HungryForSchool

There are many rags to riches stories of great people who have overcome abject poverty and risen above their underprivileged backgrounds. It is not an easy journey, but they’ve had the fortitude and resilience to brave it all. At Akshaya Patra, we come across many similar stories and it gives us great pride to know that we have played a role in them. The meal we give children keeps them in school, lays the foundation for their future and gives them the boost of energy they need to achieve their goals. In our own little way we have been inspiring children who are #HungryForSchool. We give them a reason to keep going.

Here are a few inspiring stories of children who were and are #HungryFor School.

1. Varun R
A bright boy, with a bright future, Varun is gearing up to become an IAS officer someday. He loves Indian history with a passion and has even won the ‘Bharat ko jano’ quiz. He dreams of starting schools in remote villages and getting Akshaya Patra to provide meals for hungry children. That is how profound an impact the programme has had on him. His idea is to make this one meal reach out to many more. School is the just first step in the big plans he has for himself.

2. Parvati
The desire to learn is all you need, to succeed. This child, who was not allowed to go to school, would hungrily devour her brothers’ schoolbooks. Her parents believed that it was better to educate the boys than a girl. After much pleading, they finally relented – and only because she was going to be given a meal at school. Today she is the reason many girls in her locality go to school.

3. Sangeetha
This child’s parents are shepherds, but dream of a great future for her. They can barely afford to sustain themselves but are glad their child goes to school. The meal she gets there is better than what they can give her. She is a bright child who gets very little time to study after school, yet has managed to score well in her exams. She believes she has a lot be thankful for – her open-minded parents, the school and the meal she gets every day.
Stories like these encourage us to keep going, to provide more and help more children. You too can be part of our efforts. Join us in inspiring children who are #HungryForSchool. You can contribute a small amount every year to help a child through school. You can help feed and teach a child and help him/her attain greatness. It is all in your hands.

Click here to contribute:

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Happiness is School!


Each beneficiary of The Akshaya Patra Foundation mid-day meal scheme builds a special bond with the organisation through every meal. The food that reaches over 1.39 million school children across nine states and 22 locations in India is prepared with great care. We have read about how the organisation meticulously prepares the nutritious mid-day meal and takes it to 10,631 schools across the country every day. Now let’s see what the children have to say about why they go to school.

Sarita, a 15-year-old from Karnataka, has been a beneficiary of the Akshaya Patra mid-day meal programme since she was five years old. According to her, school and the mid-day meal have given her the opportunity to be healthy and have an ambition. She aspires to be a lawyer. She gets to learn History and Civics at school which are essential subjects to achieve her goal.

“I want to change the face of law in our country by fighting for the truth alone. And school is helping me be a better person every day. The free meal that we get in school engenders a sense of gratitude in me that there is someone out there who helps us at every step in life,” says Sarita. As for Rajput Pritesh Mahesh Bhai from Gujarat, the Akshaya Patra mid-day meal is better than homemade food! “I love Dal Dhokli and Moong Khichdi,” says Pritesh. (Both are Gujarati specialties made out of lentils). The breakfast in Pritesh’s household is usually a single roti (Indian flat bread) from the previous night. Hence the children depend on the mid-day meal.

For school dropouts, the mid-day meal is a great incentive to come back to school. Tanku and Sankar Behra from Odisha dropped out of school at a young age due to financial difficulties in their family. A few years later, they joined a Government Primary School where Akshaya Patra provides mid-day meals. Explaining their family situation, their teacher Prabhamani says, “Their mother and older brother manage the house doing menial jobs. Tanku and Shankar have lunch at school which is of great relief to their mother. Their health is much better now and school has taught them to maintain personal hygiene as well. This one meal from Akshaya Patra has motivated them to come to school.”

While most children go to school for the mid-day meal and for education, some others go for the pleasure of escaping their difficult lives. Sadhana, a girl aged 14, helps her mother who works as a domestic assistant in households in Chhattisgarh. Sadhana loves school because it gives her the opportunity to be herself and learn new things. It’s a place where she meets her friends and gets a break from her hardships. She wants to grow up to be a teacher.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is making a small difference in the lives of millions of families in India. The organisation aims to reach out to more such families who are in need.

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10 reasons to support #HungryForSchool


Here’s a question that has boggled the minds of many intellectuals. How does one make sure that every child goes to school? Imposing a ban on child labour hasn’t put an end to illiteracy. Even today, children are driven to work for their livelihood.

This led us to devise a programme that addresses the root of the problem, thereby giving every child access to school. We need as many helping hands as possible to make this work. And that’s why we’ve put together this list of ’10 reasons to support #HungryForSchool’.

1. Give them their daily meal
Hunger is the main reason children drop out of schools. By helping us provide them with mid-day meals every day, you are giving them a chance to stay in school.

2. Educate them
This is the idea at the heart of our programme – to help them to study. Food gives them the incentive they need to attend school.

3. Support their dreams
No child dreams of living in poverty. Education gives them hope for a better future. #HungryForSchool can be their stepping stone to success.

5. Ease the burden on parents
Parents aren’t opposed to sending their children to school, they simply can’t afford it. By providing a mid-day meal, we ease the parent’s burden of having an extra mouth to feed, and make them more agreeable to the idea of education.

6. Give the girl child a chance
Often, parents prefer educating their sons, but not their daughters. Many parents do not realise that Akshaya Patra feeds every child that enrols in a beneficiary school, irrespective of gender, caste or religion.

7. Prevent child malnutrition
The quality of food one eats makes a big difference to the quality of life. Akshaya Patra provides nutritious, balanced meals to give children the energy they need.

8. Increase enrolment rate in schools
Since the implementation of Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal program there has been a 28 per cent increase in enrolments. Let’s push this positive change further.

9. Help children discover their potential
At Akshaya Patra, we believe that every child is inherently talented. By bringing them to school, we let them explore their potential, gauge their capabilities and discover what they love doing.

10. Make them better citizens
A child desperate for food can take the wrong path in life. It is our intention to prevent this at all costs. School, and the mid-day meal they receive there, gives them an escape to a better future.

Join us as we help more children who are #HungryForSchool. Click here to see how you can make a difference.

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It is no secret that millions of children across India are forced to give up their dreams and drop out of school to earn their daily meal. Understanding the link between food and education is what got us started at The Akshaya Patra Foundation. With the support of the government and many generous citizens, we help children break free from the shackles of child labour. We do everything we can to feed the children, and their hunger to provide them with a better future. We are here to help those #HungryForSchool.

What is #HungryForSchool?

It is our latest initiative to raise awareness about the connection between hunger and education. We thought, what better way to start this programme than to launch on ‘World Day Against Child Labour’!Print

We want more and more people to realise that it doesn’t take a fancy classroom or state-of-the-art technology to keep a child in school − just one yummy, nutritious mid-day meal.

At Akshaya Patra, we have a team of quality experts and a nutritionist to take care of the daily menu. They cover every detail to ensure that each child gets a well-balanced meal. Our well-equipped kitchens are run by a dedicated staff. As they cook up the day’s specials, they don’t forget to include large doses of love. Then, our logistics team steps in to deliver this yummy, freshly cooked lunch to the kids. This is how we provide food to over 1.39 million children from 10,631 schools, across 9 states in India. With your support we aim to expand our operations and reach out to more children who are #HungryForSchool.

Help those #HungryForSchool

You’d be surprised to know that it doesn’t take much to support our cause. It costs only Rs 750 to feed a child for a whole year (that’s less than what you would spend on one week of household groceries)! You can also spread awareness of the cause by talking and tweeting about it using the hashtag #HungryForSchool.

See? It really does take very little to secure the dreams of a little child who is #HungryForSchool.

If you wish to know more, click here.

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International Children’s Day— a day dedicated to torchbearers of the world

International Childrens Day 2014

How did we spend most of our time in our childhood? We played, we sang, we explored, learned new things, asked questions… But above all this, there was one thing we did as children— go to school. School was a place that we developed a kind of special bond with. We loved it for all the fun things we did there while also dreading exam time! But we loved every single day of school because that was the place where we made lots of friends and learned a sport or two, recited interesting poems, pulled pranks on friends and so on. Every day was a new beginning. A majority of us would agree when asked if, given a chance, we would like to go back to school now. We were gifted with knowledge and spirit in the form of school days while growing up. But the story is a world apart in the life of many children across the globe.

International Childrens Day 2014Approximately 72 million children in the world do not get the chance to go to school. Ever. Owing to various factors like inadequate financial conditions, unemployment, lack of education and illness of parents, children are preferred to work during the day. In India alone, about 50 per cent of children in the age group of 6 to 18 do not go to school. Moreover, more than 50 per cent of the children in our country are under-nourished, while our total child population is over 400 million! According to the 2011 Census, 74.04 per cent of the adult population here is literate. This means 25.96 per cent of our population can still not read and write which makes India a country with the largest illiterate population in the world!

The 2013 Global Hunger Index (GHI) of India reads 21.3 on a scale of 100, which is considered ‘Alarming’ by the International Food Policy Research Institute. Though this is an improvement since the GHI recorded in the year 1990, a substantial number of our children still go to bed on an empty stomach.

These are the exact reasons why we need to dedicate a day to the children in our world. International Children’s Day is observed on 01 June every year, since 1925. In order to curb these alarming rates of malnourishment and illiteracy in the world, we need to start with our own country. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, with support from the Government and philanthropists, is currently feeding mid-day meals to over 1.39 school-going children in India since the year, 2000.

As this is a huge number, every single donation made towards us counts. The more the support, the higher will be the possibility of curbing the alarming rates of hunger and illiteracy in our country. Thus, this International Children’s Day, let’s attempt to make a difference in a child’s life…because while we continue to live our lives, somehow in some part of the world, a dream is withering away in silence.

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The little bus, our Deliverer


Akshaya Patra— blue vehicles, popularly called blue buses have become a treat to the eyes of the children of over 10,000 Government and Government aided schools across India. To the school children, the vehicle symbolises wholesome, fresh mid-day meals that comes every day to their school just for them.

Myriad tales of the Blue Deliverers

There are over 550 vehicles that leave the Akshaya Patra kitchens every morning carrying fresh, hot meals racing towards the schools. All the vehicles are of the same blue colour and look similar. The vehicles also have the name of the donor or the organisation that donated that particular vehicle, along with the logo on its outer cover. Most people know where these buses are headed and what they carry, when they see them pass on the roads. For children the meals on wheels is a beacon of hope as they know it brings food for them, that will ensure that they don’t have to suffer an empty stomach and can eat with dignity as it brings food that is rightfully theirs.

The blue vehicles, though of various make, have one purpose at Akshaya Patra— delivering unlimited, wholesome fresh and warm meals on time, every single school day to 1.39 million children. These customised vehicles are specially designed with insulated interiors to keep the food fresh, warm and hygienic. Fabricated racks in a honey comb design are affixed to ensure optimum utilisation of the space.


The vehicles are steam sterilised regularly and periodic chemical treatment is done with food grade chemicals to ensure they are clean, hygienic and any possible pest infestation is prevented. Special care is taken to ensure that every component in the food compartment of the vehicle is of the prescribed food grade. The cleanliness of the buses is monitored regularly.  Random third party checks are also done once in six months, where sample swabs are taken and sent to third party laboratories to check on various parameters.


The loading of food into the vehicles starts as early as 4 am every school day and the vehicle takes off by 4.30 a.m. in the city of Bangalore. The last of the vehicles sets to course by 9 am, at the latest. The routes of the vehicles are planned based on the proximity of schools, lunch break timings, capacity of the vehicles and number of schools en route.

How does it work in Bangalore?

In a city like Bangalore where traffic is quite cumbersome and many times unpredictable, many things need to be considered while delivering the food. Routes are studied and the dispatch times are checked regularly. The aim of the drivers is to ensure that the food is delivered on time; hence preventive action is taken for routes where traffic is quite an issue. The vehicles leave early, keep track of the traffic jams and move on to less congested routes when necessary. On occasions when the vehicles are caught in a nasty jam and it seems impossible to make it on time, the coordinators are ready with a backup plan. A different driver shares a bit of the load by delivering to some of the schools on the list, so that the driver who is stuck will only cater to the rest. This ensures that all the schools receive the meals on time. GPS is also fixed in many of the vehicles as an aid to the drivers when needed.


Bad roads and bad parking practices also cause issues on a day to day basis. However, our drivers are always ready to do what it takes. When entering small roads where vehicles are parked blocking the way, our drivers simply pull their socks up and physically move the vehicles so that they can quickly get back on their track. All vehicles, come what may, reach the schools at least 15 minutes prior to lunch time!

Such is the tale of the Akshaya Patra vehicles and the triumph of our drivers and we appreciate their commitment.

Without the vehicles Akshaya Patra would not have been able to reach out to 1.39 million children every day; and hence we would like to thank all those philanthropic donors who have recognised the need for these real deliverers, the vehicles and supported us.

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Following the Mid-Day Meal Money Trail (Part II)

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In the previous section we discussed the budget allocation of India’s mid-day meal programme on a macro level. In this post we will analyse how the overall budget for the scheme gets allocated to certain micro expenditures like cooking costs, food grains, honorarium to cooks-cum-helpers (CCH) and the remaining to transportation and monitoring, management and evaluation (MME).

Let’s take a look at the allocation and expenditure of the programme according to these parameters:

Cooking Costs:
This requires the largest expenditure out of the MDM budget as it includes spending on a range of ingredients and condiments the scheme needs to succeed.  In Financial Year 2011-12, the budgeted amount for cooking costs was 53 per cent of the total MDM budget for that year.

In 2012 the minimum allocation of cooking cost per primary school child was fixed at Rs 3.11 per day and that of every upper primary child was at Rs 4.65 per day. As of July 2013, this number was revised to Rs 3.34 for primary school children and Rs 5.00 for upper primary children every day. At this time, the scheme was also provided with additional funds on account of the withdrawal of subsidies on LPG for the year 2013-14, with this amount being divided in the ratio of 75:25 by the Centre and States and 90:10 in North-Eastern states.

The expenditure performance of the programme is also closely monitored. To ensure proper execution of the programme, The Government of India regulations state that at least 75 per cent of the allocated cooking costs in each state should be utilised by the third quarter of every financial year.

Food Grains:
This forms the third largest budget allocation of the mid-day meal programme. These allocations are decided upon after the states put forward their projections for the coming year in the Project Approval Board (PAB) documents. These numbers are calculated based on the number of school days in the year along with the estimated number of enrolled children the state will have to feed. In monitoring the food grain expenditure, the Government has stipulated that at least 85 per cent of the total annual food grain has to be available by the third quarter of the financial year.

However this amount of food grains is dependent on the total stock available with the state. This could be influenced by whether the state has unutilised grain left over from previous years as well.

The allocation of food grains for the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2014-15 have been released by the Government of India. Below is a representation of the total allocation of food grains for the first quarter, in the nine states in which The Akshaya Patra Foundation serves the mid-day meal.


Honorarium to cook-cum-helpers:
Each cook-cum-helper is entitled to an amount of Rs 1,000 every month. The states however vary in their utilisation of their budget allocation and the total number of posts filled.

Aside from this, the mid-day meal scheme also incurs costs during transportation and monitoring, management and evaluation (MME) of the programme.

As we can see the mid-day meal programme is a synthesis of various processes and expenditures, on a scale that is almost unimaginable. Today feeding over 114 million children in India, the programme has been conceived of and executed in a way that it tackles the pervasive issue of childhood hunger in India in a way that is positive, sustainable and commendable.

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Following the Mid-Day Meal Money Trail (Part I)

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The mid-day meal programme was launched by the Government of India in 1995, feeding children of standard I-V across Government and Government aided schools in 2408 blocks in the country. Three years after this, the programme was extended to cover all the blocks in the country as well as target children studying in EGS and AIE centres. Today, India’s mid-day meal scheme is the world’s largest school feeding programme, catering to over 114 million children.

The mid-day meal programme has only been able to grow at this rapid pace due to the increased importance and budget allocations the Government of India has provided it with. Realising the need and potential of this programme, the Government has, over the years, devoted an increasing amount of the yearly budget toward expanding this undertaking.

The increased funding in the Union Budgetary Allocation toward the mid-day meal programme from the year 2007-08 to 2013-14, is a testimony to how crucial this agenda is to the long term vision of India.


The latest budget allocation by the Government of India toward the mid-day meal in Financial Year 2013-14 is Rs 13,215 crores, which is 32 per cent of the total elementary education budget for this year. According to the mid-day meal scheme norms, the Government of India contributes 75 per cent of the total costs while the states contribute 25 per cent. In the North-Eastern states of India, this division of costs becomes 90 percent by the Government, and 10 per cent by the states.

The total mid-day meal budget is divided according to different categories like cooking costs, honorarium to cooks-cum-helpers (CCH), food grains and the remaining to transportation and monitoring, management and evaluation (MME).

An evaluation of the mid-day meal budget segmentation for the year 2011-12 shows that 53 per cent of the total budget went toward cooking costs, 20 per cent as honorarium to cooks-cum-helpers (CCH), 14 per cent to food grains and the remaining was spent on MME.

In the next section we will discuss in detail the budgetary allocations across these categories of the mid-day meal scheme.

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Assam, a beautiful state located in North-East India and Akshaya Patra

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Assam, a rich, vibrant state that is famous for its breath-taking scenic beauty, is known to be the Gateway to North East India. The state is charming with its unspoiled natural beauty, swarming with wildlife, tea gardens and warm, welcoming people.

Though rich in natural resources, Assam is also home to many natural disasters which lead to the displacement of large population time and again. And hence Assam also has a large population that is displaced and economically disadvantaged. Tens of thousands of children are unable to attend school, as priority given to surviving and earning for a square meal a day is greater than accessing education.


Recognising this, in 2009, Akshaya Patra was invited by the State Government of Assam, to implement the Mid Day Meal Scheme in Guwahati as a measure to reduce dropout rates, increase enrolment in schools and eliminate child labour in the state capital. Akshaya Patra embraced the invitation and immediately set up shop in Guwahati. However it was not an easy task. Provision for basic amenities such as drinking water, drainage facility and even electricity had to be made. Hence the setting up had to be made from scratch. A reverse osmosis plant was set up for drinking water, drainage facility was constructed and generators were installed for reliable electric supply. During February 2010, the kitchen was officially inaugurated and today Akshaya Patra serves over 53,000 children from 592 schools in Guwahati, Assam.

blog-about-assam-2The kitchen at Guwahati is an ISO 22000:2005 certified centralised unit. Apart from catering to the schools, the unit has also participated in other developmental initiatives within the city. For example, 47,000 steel plates were distributed to Government school children in the recent past. During its initial days, Akshaya Patra had even provided 15 schools with bore-wells and toilets, in collaboration with Infinity Townships Pvt Ltd.

You could read case stories of the beneficiaries from Guwahati here.

Akshaya Patra has been working towards spreading its wings in the state of Assam and has been gifted with support from the State Government of Assam, by allotting land and giving subsidies. However the organisation needs continued support from philanthropic donors and well-wishers to gain momentum to reach more and more children in the state. Support us by donating online or contact us on the below address.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation
Village Numalijula, Mouza Sila,
Siduri Gopha, NH – 31
Amingaon, Guwahati – 781031 (Assam)

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