India is a diverse country in terms of agriculture as well as culture, language, religion, and geography. India grows a wide range of crops, including fruits, vegetables, spices, and cattle products. The White Revolution, also known as Operation Flood, was one of the most spectacular triumphs of Indian agriculture, transforming India from a milk-deficient nation to the world's largest milk producer.
What exactly is the White Revolution?
The White Revolution was a huge dairy development programme launched in 1970 by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) under the direction of Dr. Verghese Kurien, commonly considered the White Revolution's father. The program's primary goals were as follows:
- To boost milk production and consumption across the country by establishing a national milk grid that connects producers and consumers across regions.
- To empower rural milk producers, particularly small and marginal farmers, by forming village-level cooperatives to procure, process, and market milk and milk products.
- To improve dairy animal quality and output by providing improved nutrition, health care, and breeding services.
- Raise the income and living standards of the rural poor by creating job and income opportunities in the dairy sector.
What made the White Revolution a success?
The White Revolution was carried out in three stages, from 1970 to 1996, with the assistance of the World Bank and other foreign organisations. The following were the program's main features:
- The adoption of the Anand cooperative dairying model, which was pioneered by Dr. Kurien and his colleagues at the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which owns the well-known Amul brand. The Anand model is founded on the democratic and professional management idea, in which farmers own and control the entire milk supply chain, from production to marketing, and share profits among themselves.
- The development of a nationwide network of dairy cooperatives at the village, district, and state levels, comprising approximately 1.3 lakh communities and 15 million milk producers. These cooperatives collect, process, and distribute milk and milk products to consumers under a single brand name, such as Amul, Nandini, Sudha, and so on.
- The establishment of a national milk grid that connects surplus milk-producing regions like Gujarat, Punjab, and Haryana with deficit milk-producing regions like Bihar, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu via a network of milk powder plants, chilling centres, and transportation facilities. This enables a consistent and consistent supply of milk throughout the year, as well as a reduction in seasonal and regional price changes.
- The use of artificial insemination, cross-breeding, immunisation, balanced feed, and veterinary services to improve the genetic potential and health of dairy animals. This leads to higher milk yield and quality, as well as decreased production costs.
- The promotion of a diverse product portfolio that includes, in addition to liquid milk, a variety of value-added goods such as butter, cheese, ghee, ice cream, chocolate, and so on. This serves to increase the demand for and consumption of milk and milk products, as well as the profitability and competitiveness of the dairy industry.
What effects has the White Revolution had?
The White Revolution had a significant impact on India's socioeconomic development, particularly in rural areas. Among the most significant consequences are:
- From 22 million tonnes in 1970 to 187.7 million tonnes in 2018-19, India has become the world's largest milk producer, accounting for 22% of global milk production.
- Milk availability per capita in India has increased from 112 grams per day in 1970 to 394 grammes per day in 2018-19, exceeding the world average of 294 grammes per day.
- India's dairy sector contributes around 4.5% of GDP and 26% of agricultural GDP, and employs over 70 million rural households.
- India's dairy sector has empowered women, who account for over 70% of milk producers, by providing a consistent source of income, decision-making power, and social recognition.
- India's dairy sector has benefited people's nutrition and health, particularly children, by providing a rich supply of protein, calcium, and other critical elements.
What are the future's difficulties and opportunities?
The White Revolution has been a wonderful success story, but it confronts some potential problems and opportunities. Some of the most important issues are:
- Rising demand for milk and milk products as a result of rising population, urbanisation, income, and awareness, necessitating additional expansion and modernization of the dairy sector.
- Changing consumer preferences and expectations, which demand greater variety, quality, safety, and convenience in dairy products, demands more product innovation and diversification.
- Rising internal and worldwide rivalry, necessitating more efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness in the dairy business.
- Environmental and ethical challenges, such as animal welfare, climate change, water scarcity, and waste management, necessitate greater dairy sector sustainability and accountability.
The White Revolution has changed the game for India, and it now has the potential to become a global dairy leader. The White Revolution is about more than just milk; it is about transforming the rural economy, society, and culture. The White Revolution is both a historical success and a vision for the future. The White Revolution is both a revolution and an evolution.