Many of you may be familiar with Amul – its milk, butter and cheese are consumed by most people in India. You may also know the ‘Amul girl’, who comes in all their advertisements, and is recognized by her polka-dot dress and ponytail.
Did you know that this famous brand came about because of a national initiative? Operation Flood or White Revolution was launched in 1970 by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). The aim was to turn India, then a milk-deficient nation, into a milk producer. An experiment at Anand, a place in Gujarat, gave rise to Amul – which would soon become a blueprint for the program’s success. Verghese Kurien, the chairman and founder of Amul, who later became the chairman of the NDDB, is recognized as a main reason behind Operation Flood’s success.
The aims of the operation were to increase milk production, improve dairy farmers’ incomes, and ensure reasonable prices for consumers. To do so, a national milk grid was created to link milk producers with consumers in over 700 towns and cities. Thus, there were no more shortages due to seasonal dips. Village-based were a main part of this grid.
Operation Flood was a huge success. In 30 years, it helped to double the milk available per person. India’s milk production surpassed that of the United States in 1998, and was about 17 per cent to global output in 2010–11.