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India Celebrates ‘Father of White Revolution’ - Verghese Kurien’s 101st Birth Anniversary

The initiative taken by Dr. Verghese Kurien aka 'the Milkman of India’, to make India self-sufficient in milk production has resulted in India growing at a pace of 6.2 per cent annually in producing milk

Ayushi Sikarwar
Verghese Kurien
Dr. Verghese Kurien (File Image)

According to the Economic Survey of India 2021–2022, India ranks first in the world for milk production, contributing roughly 23 per cent in it. Additionally, dairy is the single largest agricultural product that directly employs more than 8 crore farmers and makes up 5 per cent of the national GDP.

The initiative taken by Dr. Verghese Kurien aka 'the Milkman of India’, to make India self-sufficient in milk production has resulted in India growing at a pace of 6.2 per cent annually in producing milk.

Meanwhile, India will commemorate 'National Milk Day' on November 26, in honour of Dr. Kurien, the man credited for initiating the white revolution in the country. The latter played a significant role in "Operation Flood," which helped India's dairy industry grow into the greatest self-sustaining business in the nation.

Indian Dairy Association (IDA) initiated the first-ever commemoration of this day in 2014. The day was fixed by the IDA, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), and 22 state-level dairy federations.

While the latter needs no introduction, for those who are unaware, India's White Revolution, which leveraged a network of farmer cooperatives to transform the country from a dairy importer to the greatest milk producer in the world, is credited to engineer and businessman Verghese Kurien.

Kurien completed his undergraduate studies at Loyola College of the University of Madras, where he also earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1943 (B.Sc., 1940).

While completing his engineering education at the Tata Iron & Steel Company in Jamshedpur, then in the state of Bihar, he received training in dairy engineering at the National Dairy Research Institute of Bangalore (now Bengaluru).

On a government scholarship, Kurien attended Michigan State University where he earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1948. As a condition of the scholarship, he was required to work at the Government Research Creamery in Anand, Gujarat, which he began in 1949.

Operation Flood

Beginning in 1970, Operation Flood has helped dairy producers take control of their own growth and take ownership of the resources they create. A National Milk Grid links milk farmers in India with consumers in more than 700 towns and cities, reducing seasonal and regional price variations while ensuring that the producer continuously receives fair market pricing in a transparent manner.

Operation Flood was built on the foundation of village milk producers' cooperatives, which buy milk, provide inputs and services, and give members access to modern management and technology. Operation Flood had the following objectives:

  1. Boost milk production

  2. Increase rural incomes

  3. Consumers pay fair prices

Dr. Kurien is also referred as the "Father of the White Revolution" in India for leading 'Operation Flood', the largest agricultural operation in the world. He founded the Amul company and is credited with industrialising dairy production.

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