MEETING: Sun 16th Dec 2018 11am, Zoom Conf

ATTENDEES: Sanketh, Rajiv, Balaji, Swapna, Ajay, Padmanava, Anjana

Prepared by: Anjana. Please send updates or edits if needed.


The agenda of the meeting is as follows :

1. Separate registrations of Asha Chennai

2. Sita School - Swapna

2. Team Asha update - Neha

3. Online donation portal - Sid/ Anjana

4. Open forum




  • Lead our transition to Chennai chapter from Varanasi
  • Lead Mission SDE = Smooth Donor Experience & Payment portal for Asha


  • Figure out how to add Swapna as a volunteer to add her to the Fig Tree Learning Center Project Page


  • Set up follow up meeting for 6th Jan 2019




1a. Context:

  • Asha U.S. all operates as volunteer-driven “chapters”. Many Asha India locations have one or more of it’s OWN projects that it operates and hence has paid staff. Thus Asha India chapters operate as a “trusts”.
  •  Asha India is a single entity registered as a “Trust” and “headquartered” in Varanasi. All monies and accounts are audited in Varanasi.
  • Asha India has paid auditors and other staff (who operate projects) as well as fellows whom we pay, thus we are not “volunteer-driven”.
  • Asha Blr used to have a project 10 years ago, although does not now. We may want to reserve the option to operate like a trust in the future and have 1 or more projects operated and “owned” by the chapter itself.
  • The chapter type of approval process for a project is different and potentially more rigorous than the approval process we utilize when disbursing money to an Asha trust. 
  • Asha India has 7 trustees who are responsible for the trust and accounts. Included are Vallabhai, Nandlal Masters etc.
  • Asha Bangalore is not a legal entity. However, we have a Bank Account in Koramangala under the name of “Asha”. The two authorized signatories for this account are Anita and Santhosh Padmanabhan. Sanketh is operating as Anita and has been unsuccessful in changing the legal signatory to himself and Tushar (who was also helping with Treasurer tasks in the past).
  • Asha Chennai is in the process of registering as a separate “trust”. This will mean that they can bank and get audited independently from Varanasi. Primarily this will reduce the burden of higher scrutinies associated with larger accounts and will also smooth out paperwork etc so Chennai can act independently.

1b. Question:

  • Asha Chennai has asked if we (Asha Blr) want to join them and be included under their trust, rather than under Varanasi as we are now.


 1c. Discussions / Concerns / Pre-Answer:

  • Asha Chennai has recommended and we agree that we (Asha Blr) should have a separate “trustee” and separate bank account locally in order to plug into Asha Chennai’s new registration as a trust.
  • Changing the way we work requires someone to lead the effort and have bandwidth to do the paperwork etc.
  • Balaji said he has the bandwidth, but wanted to make sure that there was no conflict of interest since his friend is the CA that we use on a pro-bono basis. Chapter agreed that there was no conflict of interest.
  • Sanketh also voiced a need for a new treasurer and mentioned that his bandwidth was low over the next year.
  • Chapter agreed that we would want to push Chennai to limit their trust to education related activities, rather than the broader political scope that it currently has in Varanasi.
  • Rajiv pointed out that education is influenced by & encompasses many facets that are not obvious (and is therefore a broad enough “focus” in itself).
  • Chapter discussed and determined that there was no reason nor motivation for any Asha India chapter to have an identity as all volunteer-driven, nor any need to separate into that.


  • Chapter decided that yes we should and yes we can transition to associating ourselves with Asha Chennai’s new trust, in lieu of the current association we have to Asha Varanasi
  • Balaji will be our “transition manager” and lead our discussions and efforts. Padmanava will help. Tasks already defined:
    • Check with CA regarding whether Asha Bangalore’s existing account can be “moved” / “amalgamated” under Asha Chennai’s trust, or whether it is easier to open a new account.
    • What is the timeline for us ? Can we “amalgamate” at a later point.
    • Push Asha Chennai to limit their trust charter to education
    • Keep chapter and Padmanava informed as we progress
    • New account needed for Asha Bangalore that will be associated under Chennai Trust




2a. Context:

  • Asha Bangalore can collect donations through credit card, check etc to the Asha US bank account in dollars (with Channel, Chapter ID and Event ID tags to direct the money to us), AND to our local Bank Account through NEFT and cheque. (Chapter decided to not take cash)
  • Transaction fees to set up payment portals were very high pre 2015 / digital India (10 to 18%)
  • We need to collect a donor’s Name, Address, Email & PAN. We also collect their phone number.
  • Currently transaction fees range from 2% to 8% with the benefit of providing a smooth donor experience.
  • Instamojo providing 2% where donor has no work and only donee (us) have to set up an account. Milaap is a funding platform that charges 5% without an automated tax-exempt receipt and will promote our cause. 8% for the automated tax-exempt receipt.
  • Balaji knows people who can set up payment portals for Asha and fees are around 3% which will include the Credit Card fees


2b: Discussions:

  • Work includes:
    • Understanding how we set up Asha as a “merchant”
    • Outline the one-time and recurring work involved both from web interface, bank interface, auditing & other regulatory requirements.
    • Estimate for professionals to set it up
    • Coordinating with other Asha India




  • Chapter decided to proceed with setting up Asha’s own payment portal
  • Balaji to lead this “Mission SDE” = Smooth Donor Experience





3a. Context:

  • Project partner “Jane” was operating Sita School some years ago as an after-school arts and crafts center on owned property for kids with special needs. She discontinued operations because it did not make sense to comply with RTE mandates.
  • FTLR began in April 2018
  • FTLR (“The Fig Tree Learning Center”) is an after-school reading, writing and story telling program operating from 4pm to 6pm.
  • FTLR has a staff of 3 educators (and Jane) who split their time across 3 facilities, spending 2 days a week at each location. They are all B.Ed.
  • 1 location is within the Govt School at Kasaghattapura. School has a single teacher for 1st to 4th std is thrilled to have the help.
  • 2 locations are in rooms given by teacher’s relatives in the villages of Gavipura and Tharabanahalli
  • FTLR does not have location related costs as a result. All facilities are in Selvipura (Bangalore North)
  • All locations have books and a library / sign out system for kids to take books home.
  • * Have a library system for kids to take a book home
  • Program is for Ages 5 to 13, 1 to 4th std together
  • Reading, writing and storytelling uses the techniques of telling stories with specially made flash cards for each sentence with pictures to show context. Kids are asked to write words, spellings or sentences after they have been told the story.
  • FTLR is doing the work of “building” the material by creating & binding the books.
  • All kids and educators go to the Govt school for festivals & functions.
  • Casual visitors like donors & companies are providing them stationary
  • Project Page is up, but Swapna’s name needs to be added. Padmanava to follow up.
  • They are building a website. Swapna to follow up.

3b. The ask:

  • Salaries for the educators is a needed expenses Rs 15k per month / teachers = Rs 45k per month


3c. Questions / Concerns:

  • How many months of the year do they need salaries for ?
  • How is Jane getting paid / supported ?
  • Do they have a list of their overall operating expenses. Swapna to follow up to ensure that they have formal bookkeeping that outlines a budget and operational expenses.
  • Ensure that their 80G, 12A, PAN & Trust Deed documents are aligned with Asha’s policy
    • Swapna already has 80G & PAN, will follow up on 12A and Trust Deed.



  •  None yet. Swapna will follow up with details for chapter to take a decision.

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