Posts Tagged ‘Milk’

It is said that the difference between a winner and a loser is that a winner tries ‘one more time’. Fed up with the Government Creamery that had no challenges, in dusty Anand, Verghese Kurien had almost thrown up his hands. It was May in 1949. Around the same time, a small co-operative dairy was fighting its freedom battle from a privately owned one. Young Kurien volunteered to help this dairy set up a processing plant. This marked the birth of AMUL; and there was no turning back!


Credited with this title, Verghese Kurien is also called ‘The Milkman of India’. He set up an army of milk producers, which stands over 9-million strong today.

The small co-operative dairy was the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union (KDCMPUL) that was fighting for freedom from the Polson Dairy, which was privately owned. Kurien helped the then Chairman of KDCMPUL, Shri Tribhuvandas Patel in this battle. Shri Patel was assigned the task of providing good facilities to the Kaira farmers and setting them into a co-operative unit by Shri Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Since then, Kurien has built this organization into one of the largest and most looked up to institutions in India. He ushered in a concept of co-operatives where dairy farmers could own and manage profitable agri-business enterprises with their produce, however small it may be.

Kurien is also credited with being the brain behind the largest dairy development program of the world – Operation Flood. Operation Flood ran under Kurien’s leadership in 3 phases for 26 years, with 3 principal objectives:

  •  Making dairying India’s largest self-sustainable rural employment programme
  •  Bringing India close to self-sufficiency in milk production
  •  Trebling the nation’s milk production within a span of two-and-a-half decades to make India the world’s largest milk producer

He is the architect of the Anand Model of Co-operative Dairy Development and hence the engineer of White Revolution in India.


Verghese Kurien was born on 26 November 1921 in Kozhikode, Kerala. He graduated with Physics from Loyola College of Madras in 1940. He pursued his BE (Mechanical) with honors from the Madras University in 1944. Further, Kurien joined the Tata Iron and Steel Company Institute at Jamshedpur, Bihar, in February 1946 to complete his special studies in engineering. Success does not come easy; Kurien underwent a specialized training of nine months in dairy engineering at the National Dairy Research Institute of Bangalore.

Kurien earned himself a Government Scholarship and moved on to the Michigan State University in the USA to earn his Master of Science degree with distinction in 1948.

Verghese Kurien returned to India and joined the Dairy Department of the Government. He was posted as the Dairy Engineer at the Government Research Creamery, a small milk-powder factory, at Anand, in 1949.


The Creamery did not turn out to be a satisfactory job for Kurien and he resigned 7 months later to become the Manager of KDCMPUL.

Such was the success of the organization, known as AMUL today, that the then Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri decided to replicate the model. Under the leadership of Verghese Kurien, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was created in 1965. Meanwhile, AMUL brand name (acronym for Anand Milk Union Ltd) became a global role model for dairying as an instrument of rural development.
Kurien went on to establish the GCMMF (Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation) in 1973 to sell the products produced by the dairies. However, after a disagreement with the organization’s management in 2006, he quit the post of Chairman.

Verghese Kurien heads the Viksit Bharat Foundation, a body set up by the President of India. He is also the Chairman of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand’s (IRMA) Board of Governors in India.

Apart from these, Kurien is the proud owner of Fellowships for advanced training in dairy plan design and dairy engineering in New Zealand and Australia, which were awarded to him in October 1952. He was an official Indian delegate to the International Dairy congresses held in Rome in 1956 and Copenhagen in 1962. He is a member of both the Dairy Science and the Dairy Education committees of the Government of India. As a nominee of the Industrial Finance Corporation of India, he serves as a Director of Tensile Steel in Baroda and Air Control and Refrigeration in Ahmedabad, and is a member of the Gujarat State Electricity Board.


A leading figure in the dairy development of the country, Verghese Kurien has been a remarkable agent of social change. His work is acknowledged globally and a plethora of awards has been conferred on him.

  • 1963 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership
  • 1965 Padma Shri
  • 1966 Padma Bhushan
  • 1986 Krishi Ratna Award
  • 1986 Wateler Peace Prize Award (from Carnegie Foundation)
  • 1989 World Food Prize
  • 1993 International Person of the Year (by the World Dairy Expo, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
  • 1999 Padma Vibhushan
  • 2003 Godfrey Philips Bravery Award
  • 2007 Karmaveer Puraskaar Noble Laureates by iCONGO -Confederation of NGOs

Along with this, Kurien and his team were the pioneers in inventing the process of making milk powder and condensed milk from buffalo’s milk instead of cow’s milk. This was the reason AMUL became so successful and competed well against Nestle.


Verghese Kurien has done groundbreaking work in the field of dairy development. India that faced the scarcity of milk in the ’50s and ’60s was turned to a land of surplus in the ’70s. Around 10-million grassroots milk producers walked the path of prosperity. Today, India has the largest cattle population in the world. It has overtaken the US and has become the largest producer of milk in the world.

Every morning when the producers must be walking to local milk collection centers with their pots full of milk, they would be blessing Kurien with their true hearts. And it would surely be the happiest hour of Kurien’s day!

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