Published: 18th November 2020
With turmoil in Akshaya Patra ranks, will the midday meals they serve in 19,000 schools be affected?
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a public-private organisation formed in the year 2000 by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to provide mid-day meals to the government school kids
With reports suggesting that high-profile independent trustees of the Akshaya Patra Foundation have resigned and accused them of not being transparent enough, questions have been raised about how the noon-meal scheme (or midday meal scheme) that they run in 12 states and more than 19,000 schools will be affected.
According to a report in The News Minute, Mohandas Pai, Former CEO of Infosys, Abhay Jain, Advisor to Manipal Education and medical group, V Balakrishnan, Former CEO of Infosys and Raj Kondur, Co-founder of ChrysCaptial have resigned and have made multiple allegations. They had also said that the cost of per meal had gone up to Rs 5 which was more when compared to the price of per meal in other NGOs. Hence, the independent trustees had reportedly been demanding better governance as well as transparency in terms of finance.
In July, Shridhar Venkat, CEO of Akshaya Patra Foundation, had told Edexlive that they will continue to provide food to the children in schools once they reopened. He said, "We have created a standard operating procedure for the kitchen which is much stronger than what it was earlier. If the schools open up, we have come up with a process that can ensure there is social distancing between children and the person who serves food. We are all set for midday meals again. In fact, we want the schools to start at the earliest so that children get food and education."
The Akshaya Patra Foundation currently has MoUs with 12 states and serves over 1.8 million children in the government schools across India. Sources in the know have suggested that their track record speaks for themself and that it is up to individual states to decide when to restart the midday meal scheme.