White Revolution in India

What is White Revolution in India?

The white revolution in India changed the way the world perceives the Indian dairy industry. It is one of the milestones of Indian history and Science and placed India in the list of top countries in milk production. Thanks to White Revolution, India is the topmost country in milk production.

What inspired White Revolution in India?

Currently, India is the first in the number of cattle and milk production. But the case was a contrast during the time of independence and India-Pakistan separation.

Additionally, in the late 1970s, milk production in India was dominated by middlemen who laundered money, leaving cattle rearers with empty hands. 

It was when the necessity for Operation Flood originated with Dr.Varghese Kurian.

Operation Flood’s sole goal was to eliminate the middlemen from the entire process so that the milk producers could directly connect with consumers. 

Milk revolution or Operation Flood remains as one of the notable events in India after Independence. Among its many objectives, the goals of Operation Flood include: 

  1. Increase the milk production in India so that more people can access milk and milk products than before.
  2. Increase rural incomes so that the farmers benefit from their hardwork.
  3. Offer fair, reasonable prices for consumers with no seasonal fluctuations and middlemen’s involvement.

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How was Operation Flood implemented?

India’s National Dairy Development Board served as a crucial resource in the planning and implementation of the White Revolution. Operation Flood was accomplished in three phases.

Phase 1: Selling of skimmed milk powder | 10 years

The National Dairy Development Board connected 18 significant milk producers in India to metropolitan cities in the 1980s: Delhi, Bombay, and Tamil Nadu.

Thus, the NDDB hoped to get a solid initial boost to help farmers while ensuring a steady supply and demand for fresh milk. This way, the NDDB improved the milk grid that was previously not very well connected.
With increased connections, the demand rose as well. The new demand-led farmers to buy and breed more cattle to meet the increasing demand from the big cities.

On the upside, farmers could produce more milk than they had ever before since the city connections and access to consumers directly without the middlemen. It allowed more flexibility and control in the entire process.

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Phase 2: Milk sheds more than double all around the country | 5 years

In the second phase, NDBB increased the number of milk sheds to more than 130. By the time 1985 rolled in, the number of people that produced milk significantly exceeded 4 lakh — a then-unprecedented number that increased rapidly since then, placing India in the topmost position in the countries contributing to global milk supply. In 2013, India surpassed the United States in its milk supply.

Phase 3: Increase the volumes of milk | 10 years

By the time Phase II came to an end, India was well on its way into becoming a self-sustaining industry in milk production and distribution.

With the initial flow of procedures in place, Phase 3 focused on increasing that amount so that veterinary people could access fresh milk regularly. 

In the late 1980s, milk sheds began cropping up in all parts of the country — their number being the highest since then. 

Along with a rise in milk production and milk products like paneer, scientists and researchers focussed on strengthening the process.

The increased government funding went toward assessing healthy practices for both animals and the milk they produce. 

Operation Flood also prompted governments to create vaccines for animals to rusticate animal parasites such as Theileriosis and others. 

Where did the White Revolution originate?

Operation Flood became prominent as White Revolution due to the amount of milk that India began producing.

It first originated in a small village in Gujarat in the early 1970s and has spread rapidly since then.
Mr. Kurien strongly believed that healthy cattle gave healthy milk. Hence, his mission gave many farmers the packages that they could use to improve animal husbandry. It promoted the Operation Flood movement on a broad scale.

By connecting farmers directly to the consumers, Operation Food slowly began to gain momentum and garnered support from the public, farmers, and politicians.

Who was the man behind White Revolution in India? 

Dr. Verghese Kurien was the man behind White Revolution in India. He is the also the visionary behind the milk brand Amul, one of the globally renowned Indian brands.

Verghese Kurien, the father of the White Revolution.
Verghese Kurien, the father of the White Revolution. Source: Wiki Commons

For his brilliant planning and execution of the White Revolution in India, many people refer to him as “the father of the White Revolution.”

Under his supervision, the amount of milk produced in India increased four times its initial value before the 1970s. 

Verghese Kurien was born on November 26, 1921, in Kerala. Mr. Kurien also played an influential role in fighting against the middlemen who looted tons of money from everyday farmers and hardworking milkmen. 

At Amul, Mr. Kurien pushed for the production of milk powder from buffalo’s milk that was in short supply across the country. Throughout his career, Mr. Kurien was motivated to make the lives of milkmen better and made sure he did all in his power to increase their income. 

Mr. Kurien’s initiative for the White Revolution allowed him to place the farmer as a crucial player in the entire process, giving them more control and income. He received a lot of support from both farmers and politicians. 

The farmers saw an improvement in their livelihood, so they were grateful to Mr. Kurien for his help. This way, there was never a step back in the whole White Revolution because the idea itself was a visionary thought that benefited the country on the whole.

He also identified the core problem that many farmers faced. He spotted the paucity of buyers during the flush season when their cattle produced milk in abundance. In contrast, during insufficient milk production, the demand increased rapidly, creating an immense price fluctuation. 

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Significance of White Revolution in India

Recent statistics suggest that India produced around 180 million metric tons in the year 2019, the highest number that the country has reached in the past decade. India also contributed to 22 percent of the world’s milk in the year 2018.

There is a notable reason behind the high numbers. And we know that by now. A revolution that occurred in India helped it become a self-sustaining industry in milk production and distribution. The White Revolution or Operation Flood rapidly increased the amount of milk India produces, offering jobs to farmers and giving way to healthy cattle.

In total, the amount of milk that became available to every person in India doubled, inspiring healthier lifestyles all over the country that was previously difficult to accomplish.

India Milk Industry after White Revolution

One of Mr. Kurien’s prominent efforts until his death in 2012 was to limit the big profitable companies from entering the milk production process. Due to his dedication to the farmers and his goal to improve their lives.

Moreover, he believed that healthy cattle give the best milk, which was also one of the prime reasons he fought against big companies that employed technology-inspired artificial methods to produce higher amounts of milk in a short time. Right now, although there are brands bigger than Amul that are slightly dominating the milk production field, Mr. Kurien’s vision lives on in many ways.

Farmers are still at the forefront of the process to a large extent. Mr. Kurien achieved his goal to improve the farmers’ lives. He also accomplished the larger vision to make India a self-sustained country to produce and distribute milk.

This way, Operation Flood has been a great success because it reached all the goals and objectives set forth by Mr. Kurien.

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Impact of White Revolution in India

Thus, Dr.Verghese Kurien established a system and milk grid that put India on the global market for milk production and distribution, so much so that it is now the world’s topmost producer of milk. Although Mr. Kurien didn’t start with this goal in mind, his innovative idea to help farmers and give them more control in the whole process changed the nation.

Mr. Kurien was dedicated to improving the farmers’ lives. It is why he established the NDDB closer to the farmers and away from any capital investors. Although he did not shy away from politicians, Mr. Kurien was determined that his company should be independent of any political influence.

Accomplished in three phases for 25 years, Operation Flood remains the most successful undertaking in milk production in Indian history.