The Milk Man of India - Dr. Verghese Kurien

 IRMA

“India's place in the sun would come from the partnership between wisdom of its rural people and skill of its professionals” - Dr. Verghese Kurien

Dr. Verghese Kurien was born on November 26, 1921 in Calicut (now Kozhikode), Kerala. He received his degree in B.SC in Physics and went to the United States of America on scholarship to pursue Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Distinction). Later, he was placed in Kaira district of Gujrat where he witnessed the exploitation of farmers by the distributors of milk controlled by a businessman called as "Pestonjee Edulji" who marketed Polson butter.

The turning point in his life was when he decided to leave his government job and joined forces with Tribhuvandas Patel, committed freedom fighter and the farmers to start the Milk Cooperative movement in the region registered under the name of Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd (KDCMPUL), which was later renamed to now popular "Amul". Under the guidance of Dr. Kurien and with the help of technological advancement the output of milk multiplied.

Operation Flood

Launched in 1970, Operation Flood, helped dairy farmers by giving them control of their own resources and directing their own development. A National Milk Grid links milk producer throughout India with consumers in over 700 towns and cities, lessening seasonal and regional price variations, ensuring that the producer gets fair market prices in a transparent manner. The objectives were to increase the milk production output, reasonable prices for the consumers as well as growth in rural incomes.

From the start, Operation Flood was imagined and actualized as considerably more than a dairy program. It was viewed as an indicator of improvement, producing work for millions of rustic individuals.

Imperative foundations were set up under his leadership, the GCMMF (Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd) and NDDB (National Dairy Development board which played a noteworthy part in molding the Dairy Cooperative development across the nation and drove the replication of Anand model of cooperative dairy practiced everywhere throughout the nation.

Institute of Rural Management Anand - IRMA

“India needs to show an honest face, a kind face, a human face … What you need is good management with farmer power. Good management gives this power the right direction and thrust. Nothing can stop the farmers then.” – Dr. Verghese Kurien

Established in 1979 by Dr. Kurien, The Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) is focused on promoting sustainable, ecologically-friendly & equitable socio-economic development of rural people through professional management. Their objective of rural development and prosperity is achieved by providing professional management education to the students through experiential learning to gain firsthand knowledge and experience. It provides a real picture as well as instill the critical and problem-solving approach in the students.

The Institute has set up Dr. Verghese Kurien Centre for Excellence (VKCoE) with the support from the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) to work on contemporary challenges of the diary business through research, augmentation, consultancy and policy analysis.

Awards

Dr. Kurien has been regarded as the 'Father of The White Revolution'. His consistent efforts and charisma won him many accolades: National Awards: Padmabhushan (1966), Krishi Ratna (1986), Padma Vibhushan (1999), several other awards and to name a few International awards; Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1963), World Food Prize award for the year 1989.

The greatest honor he received was by the people of the country who gave him the title as “Milkman of India” who not only understood the problem but also took the initiative to bring relief to the exploited farmers and made milk as a powerful tool for economic development. After exemplary service to the nation, Dr. Verghese Kurien drew his last breath on 9 September 2012. As a tribute, India celebrates 26th November as “National Milk Day”.

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