What is White Revolution or Operation Flood?

Amul- the Anand based milk brand has already become an iconic brand in South Asia today; in a market dominated by food MNCs. It is managed by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF). The GCMMF is owned by 3.1 mn dairy farmers of Gujarat.

Amul has a scintillating story- that tells the history of milk or white revolution in India.

It started when Dr. Verghese Kurien, a technologist landed in Anand in 1949. He launched the GCMMF and given brand value to Amul (Anand Milk Union Limited) with the help of several other local leaders and thousands of dairy farmers.

GCMMF and Amul were beginning points of today’s milk revolution as former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri encouraged Dr Kurien to launch Operation Flood – a nationwide programme to raise milk production. Dr Kurien became the Chairman of the National Diary Development Board (NDDB) and Operation Flood was officially launched in 1970. The programme was supported by European Economic Community and the World Bank.

Operation Flood had followed the Anand model where the rural farmers’ cooperatives were organized at the village level and connected to the urban consumers in the form of a Milk Grid.

The backbone of the programme were the dairy farmers who organized in the form of milk cooperative societies. It ensured that the producer gets a major share of the price consumers pay, by eliminating intermediaries.

The operation flood has produced amazing results in India’s development history. First was the energy, inventiveness and momentum it created in India’s agriculture sector. At the beginning of Operation Flood, India was a net importer of milk products. The programme has transformed India as the largest producer of milk and a net exporter within few decades with a total production of 138 million tonnes in 2013-14. Per capita availability of milk increased from 130 gm/day in 1950-51 to 300gm/day in 2013-14. India became the leading milk producing country with 17% of the global production.

The World Bank has hailed operation flood as one the biggest successful rural development programmes it supported.

Secondly, Dr Kurien’ has developed cooperative movement a tool for rural development. He is regarded as one of the greatest proponents of the cooperative movement in the world. Operation Flood is considered as one of the world’s largest rural development programmes. Amul is the story of the first community owned enterprise in the country.

Thirdly, Dr Kurien, though did not drink milk, became known as the Father of White Revolution and he has shown the miracular quality of social entrepreneurship to bring up the wellbeing of rural people. Dr Kurien created a model for future generation social entrepreneurs.

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