Operation Flood | Indian History | Free PDF Download

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  • Dr. Verghese Kurien (26 November 1921 – 9 September 2012), known as the ‘Father of the White Revolution’ in India, was a social entrepreneur whose “billion-litre idea”, Operation Flood the world’s largest agricultural dairy development programme.
  • Itmade dairy farming India’s largest self-sustaining industry and the largest rural employment provider, being a third of all rural income,with benefits of raising incomes and credit, riddance of debt dependence, nutrition, education, health, gender parity and empowerment, breakdown of caste barriers and grassroots democracy and leadership.
  • It made India the world’s largest milk producer from a milk-deficient nation, which doubled milk available per person and increased milk output four-fold, in 30 years


  • Formed in 1948, it is a brand managed by a cooperative body, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF), which today is jointly owned by 3.6 million milk producers in Gujarat.
  • The white revolution was spearheaded by Tribhuvandas Patel under the guidance of Sardar Patel and Verghese Kurien.
  • Amul-cooperative registered on 14 December 1946 as a response to the exploitation of marginal milk producers by traders or agents of the only existing dairy, the Polson dairy, in the small city distances to deliver milk, which often went sour in summer, to Polson.
  • The prices of milk were arbitrarily determined. The government had given monopoly rights to Polson to collect milk from Kaira and supply it to Bombay city


  • Angered by the unfair trade practices, the farmers of Kaira approached Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel under the leadership of local farmer leader Tribhuvandas K. Patel
  • He advised them to form a cooperative (Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union) and supply milk directly to the Bombay Milk Scheme instead of Polson.
  • In 1946, the milk farmers of the area went on a strike which led to the setting up of the cooperative to collect and process milk.
  • The cooperative was further developed and managed by Dr. Verghese Kurien


  • Operation Flood, launched in 1970, was a project of India’s National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), which was the world’s biggest dairy development program.
  • It transformed India from a milk-deficient nation into the world’s largest milk producer, surpassing the USA in 1998, with about 17 percent of global output in 2010–11.
  • In 30 years it doubled milk available per person, and made dairy farming India’s largest self-sustainable rural employment generator.


  • It was launched to help farmers direct their own development, placing control of the resources they create in their own hands. All this was achieved not merely by mass production, but by production by the masses; the process has been called the white revolution.
  • The Anand pattern experiment at Amul, a single, cooperative dairy, was the engine behind the success of the program. Verghese Kurien, the chairman and founder of Amul, was named the chairman of NDDB by the then Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri. Kurien gave the necessary thrust using his professional management skills to the program, and is recognized as its architect


  • Operation Flood’s objectives included:
  1. Increase milk production (“a flood of milk”)
  2. Augment rural incomes 3. Fair prices for consumers


  • Phase I (1970–1980) was financed by the sale of skimmed milk powder and butter oil donated by the European Union through the World Food Program.
  • During this phase, Operation Flood linked 18 of India’s premier milksheds with consumers in India’s major metropolitan cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, establishing mother dairies in four metros.
  • Operation Flood – It was originally meant to be completed in 1975, actually spanned the period of about nine years from 1970–79, at a total cost of Rs.116 crores.


    • Operation Flood Phase II (1981–1985) increased the milk-sheds from 18 to 136; urban markets expanded the outlets for milk to 290.
  • By the end of 1985, a self-sustaining system of 43,000 village cooperatives with 4,250,000 milk producers were covered. Domestic milk powder production increased from 22,000 tons in the pre-project year to 140,000 tons by 1989, all of the increase coming from dairies set up under Operation Flood.


  • Phase III (1985–1996) enabled dairy cooperatives to expand and strengthen the infrastructure required to procure and market increasing volumes of milk.
  • Operation Flood’s Phase III consolidated India’s dairy cooperative movement, adding 30,000 new dairy cooperatives to the 43,000 existing societies organized during Phase II.
  • Phase III increased emphasis on research and development in animal health and animal nutrition. Innovations like vaccine for bypassing protein feed all contributed to the enhanced productivity of milk producing animals.

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