Operation Flood

Operation Flood

Operation Flood was a rural development programme started by India's National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in 1970. One of the largest of its kind, the programme objective was to create a nationwide milk grid.

It resulted in making India the largest producer of milk and milk products, and hence is also called the White Revolution of India. It also helped reduce malpractices by milk traders and merchants. This revolution followed the Indian Green Revolution and helped in alleviating poverty and famine levels from their dangerous proportions in India during the era.



Operation Flood has helped dairy farmers, direct their own development, placing control of the resources they create in their own hands. A 'National Milk Grid', links milk producers throughout India with consumers in over 700 towns and cities, reducing seasonal and regional price variations while ensuring that the producer gets a major share of the price consumers pay.

The bedrock of Operation Flood has been village milk producers' co-operatives, which procure milk and provide inputs and services, making modern management and technology available to members. Operation Flood's objectives included :

  • Increase milk production ("a flood of milk")
  • Augment rural incomes
  • Fair prices for consumers

Programme implementation

Gujarat-based co-operation "Anand Milk Union Limited", often called Amul, was the engine behind the success of the programme,[citation needed] and in turn became a mega company based on the cooperative approach. Tribhuvandas Patel was the founder Chairman of Amul, while Verghese Kurien was the chairman of NDDB at the time when the programme was implemented. Verghese Kurien, who was then 33, gave the professional management skills and necessary thrust to the co-operative, and is considered the architect of India's 'White Revolution' (Operation Flood). His work has been recognised by the award of a Padma Bhushan, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, the Carnegie-Wateler World Peace Prize, and the World Food Prize.[1][2]

Operation Flood was implemented in three phases.

Phase I

Phase I (1970–1980) was financed by the sale of skimmed milk powder and butter oil donated by the European Union (then the European Economic Community) through the World Food Programme. NDDB planned the programme and negotiated the details of EEC assistance.

During its first phase, Operation Flood linked 18 of India's premier milksheds with consumers in India's major metropolitan cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Thus establishing mother dairies in four metros.

Operation flood, also referred to as “White Revolution” is a gigantic project propounded by Government of India for developing dairy industry in the country. The Operation Flood – 1 originally meant to be completed in 1975, actually spanned the period of about nine years from 1970–79, at a total cost of Rs.116 crores.

At start of operation Flood-1 in 1970 certain set of aims were kept in view for the implementation of the programmes. Improvement by milk marketing the organized dairy sector in the metropolitan cities Mumbai(then Bombay), Kolkata(then Calcutta), Chennai(then Madras), Delhi. The objectives of commanding share of milk market and speed up development of dairy animals respectively hinter lands of rural areas with a view to increase both production and procurement.

Phase II

Operation Flood Phase II (1981–1985) increased the milksheds from 18 to 136; 290 urban markets expanded the outlets for milk. By the end of 1985, a self-sustaining system of 43,000 village cooperatives with 4,250,000 milk producers were covered. Domestic milk powder production increased from 22,000 tons in the pre-project year to 140,000 tons by 1989, all of the increase coming from dairies set up under Operation Flood. In this way EEC gifts and World Bank loan helped promote self-reliance. Direct marketing of milk by producers' cooperatives increased by several million litres a day.

Phase III

Phase III (1985–1996) enabled dairy cooperatives to expand and strengthen the infrastructure required to procure and market increasing volumes of milk. Veterinary first-aid health care services, feed and artificial insemination services for cooperative members were extended, along with intensified member education.

Operation Flood's Phase III consolidated India's dairy cooperative movement, adding 30,000 new dairy cooperatives to the 42,000 existing societies organized during Phase II. Milksheds peaked to 173 in 1988-89 with the numbers of women members and Women's Dairy Cooperative Societies increasing significantly.

Phase III gave increased emphasis to research and development in animal health and animal nutrition. Innovations like vaccine for Theileriosis, bypassing protein feed and urea-molasses mineral blocks, all contributed to the enhanced productivity of milch animals.


Dr. Verghese Kurien had contributed towards the success of White revolution

From the outset, Operation Flood was conceived and implemented as much more than a dairy programme. Rather, dairying was seen as an instrument of development, generating employment and regular incomes for millions of rural people.

A World Bank Report 1997 says:

Operation Flood can be viewed as a twenty year experiment confirming the Rural Development Vision


Some critics of the project (cf. Ramdas and Ghotge, 2006) argue that the emphasis on foreign cow breeds has been instrumental in the decimation of Indian breeds. Foreign breeds give higher yields, but require more feed and are not suited to Indian conditions. Critics also argue that the focus on the dairy sector during this period came at the expense of development, research, and extension work in other areas of Indian agriculture.[who?] There is also the criticism that the product from the White Revolution, namely milk and dairy products (like foodgrains from the harvests using Green Revolution methods and practices) is qualitatively, not exactly 'technically', inferior to the product obtained employing traditional methods and practices geared to smaller population levels which had only to be 'scaled up' for larger populations.[who?]

See also


Ramdas, Sagari R. and Nitya S Ghotge. 2006. India's Livestock Economy. "The Forsaken Drylands", Seminar Issue # 564, August 2006.

  1. ^ Welcome to Amul - The Taste of India
  2. ^ Magazine: India Today- special issue: 21 April 2008. page no. 96.

External links

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