Inspiring Indians - Dr Verghese Kurien

The story of the man who is credited for making India one of the largest milk producers in the world is a truly inspiring one for every Indian to read.

Born on 26 November 1921 in Kerala, Dr Verghese Kurien completed his B.E. (Mech) from the University of Madras. Later he joined the Tata Steel Technical Institute, Jamshedpur from where he graduated in 1946. He then went to USA on a Government scholarship, to earn his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University. 

 

Early life

When he came back to India, he was posted at the dairy department of the Government of India in Anand, Gujarat, to take charge as the dairy engineer. At the time, private dairies, middlemen, and inefficient collection and distribution systems resulted in milk of varying quality being erratically available across the country, often at high prices to consumers but with little profit for the producers. Dr. Kurien used his experience to work with the manager of the local Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union (now famous as Amul) to build an in-house processing plant and organize the cooperative to handle its own marketing directly to consumers. This marked the birth of AMUL. 

Dr. Kurien then built this organization into one of the largest and most successful institutions in India. The Amul pattern of cooperatives had been so successful that Dr. Kurien setup NDDB (National Dairy Development Board), to replicate it across India. He also set up GCMMF (Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation) in 1973 to sell the products produced by the dairies. Today GCMMF sells AMUL brand products not only in India but also overseas. 

Milkman of India 

Dr Verghese Kurien is called the father of the White Revolution in India. Also known as the Milkman of India, he has served as the chairman of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. - GCMMF (which markets Amul products). 

He is credited with architecting Operation Flood *-- the largest dairy development programmeme in the world. He set up the Anand model of cooperative dairy development, engineered the White Revolution in India, and made India the largest milk producer in the world. 

Some of the Accolades  

1963 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership 1965 Padma Shri 1966 Padma Bhushan 1986 Krishi Ratna Award 1986 Wateler Peace Prize Award 1989 World Food Prize Laureate 1993 International Person of the Year (by the World Dairy Expo, USA) 1999 Padma Vibhushan *Operation Flood was the name of one of the largest rural development programmeme started by India's National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in 1970. It was founded by Dr. Verghese Kurien. The objective of the programmeme was to create a nationwide milk grid ("a flood of milk"), which allowed dairy farmers to own and operate milk production, processing, and marketing for the urban areas of that country. It heralded the beginning of the White Revolution that brought tangible profits to milk farmers and initiated a dramatic change in their lives. It resulted into making India, as one of the largest producer of milk and milk products. So it is also called 'White Revolution of India'.

Dr Kurien expired on 9th Sept. 2012.

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