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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Edition 12: Father of White Revolution

It was year 1945. A young engineer had applied for the scholarship which was given by Government of India to go and achieve specialisation in foreign countries. 500 such scholarships were to be given. The young engineer was interviewed by Vice Chancellor Sir Maurice Gwyer. He was asked definition on the pasteurisation method which the young engineer answered correctly. Gwyers told him that he was chosen for the Dairy Engineering.
The surprised engineer said that he knew nothing about dairying and he had applied for Metallurgical Engineering. But Gwyer told him that he has to chose it or leave it since there was only one scholarship left. The engineer accepted the only scholarship he was offered. Thus began the journey of one of India's most notable personality and father of the White Revoution in India, Dr. Verghese Kurien.
Behind Amul products lies a successful history of cooperative dairy farming in India. Kurien, also nicknamed the 'Milkman of India', played a crucial role in the development of Gujarat Cooperative Milk and Marketing Federation Ltd which launched Amul.
Based in Anand, a town in Gujarat, Amul is a dairy cooperative movement joined by about 2 and half million milk producers in Gujarat. The number of members of the cooperative has continued to increase with the numbers of women members and Women's Dairy Cooperative Societies also increasing significantly.
Kurien worked in Anand dairy started by Tribhuvandas Patel, an aide of Vallabhbhai Patel. He had united the disorganised farmers and started a co-operative dairy unit. But Patel found it difficult to compete with a British dairy in Mumbai. Patel sought this clever young engineer's assistance. Kurien helped Tribuvandas Patel to set up a processing plant. This marked the birth of Amul. Dr. Kurien was born in Calicut on 26th November 1921. He got his first degree in physics and he studied B.E Mechanical Engineering at the University of Madras. He passed the M.S. degree with distinctions in USA. He was also very good at cricket, tennis and boxing. When he returned to India, he joined Anand dairy as a dairy Engineer. But he felt it was not a challenging job for him.
Thus he agreed to help Patel in setting up a milk processing plant. Dr. Kurien developed the Amul Dairy Unit into the largest co-operative dairy in India. As a result of Dr. Kurien's relentless efforts, the poor milk producers were protected from being exploited. He introduced various reforms in the administration of Amul Dairy. He proposed to distribute half of its profit to the milk producers as dividend. Dr.Kurien made India the largest milk producer of the world.
Dr. Kurien established the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and designed the “Operation Flood Programme.” He has been honoured with very high civilian awards such as Padmashri and Padmabhushan. His achievements were recognised internationally and he was awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership.

“Milk means freedom”-the message was spread among the poor and landless. In the Amul model procurement, processing & marketing is in the hands of the farmers. A massive network involves collecting milk from more than 12 million farmers, testing, grading and transporting twice a day from 1,00,000 villages over 10,000 routes to about 180 dairyplants. It is later followed by processing ,packing,and sending the milk to the market in almost 800 big and small towns every single day of the year.
Operation Flood
Operation Flood: one of the world's largest rural development programmes.
Launched in 1970, Operation Flood has helped dairy farmers direct their own development, placing control of the resources they create in their own hands. A National Milk Grid links milk producers throughout India with consumers in over 700 towns and cities, reducing seasonal and regional price variations while ensuring that the producer gets fair market prices in a transparent manner on a regular basis.
The bedrock of Operation Flood has been village milk producers' cooperatives, which procure milk and provide inputs and services, making modern management and technology available to members.
Veterinary first-aid health care services, feed and artificial insemination services for cooperative members were extended, along with intensified member education. “Operation Flood can be viewed as a twenty year experiment confirming the Rural Development Vision," said World Bank Report in 1997.

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