Dr. Verghese Kurien - Father of White Revolution in India


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Prelims: General Science

Mains: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.

Dr Verghese Kurien, also known as the "Milkman of India", and the “Father of the White Revolution in India,” was a well-known Indian social entrepreneur and the driving force behind India's White Revolution. He is well-known for his significant contributions to the dairy industry and his role in transforming India into one of the world's largest milk producers. Verghese Kurien's dedication to rural development, dairy farming, and cooperative principles made him a revered figure in India.

Verghese Kurien - Background

Verghese Kurien, often referred to as the "Milkman of India," was a renowned Indian social entrepreneur and the driving force behind India's White Revolution.

Early Life and Education of Dr Verghese Kurien

  • Birth: Dr. Verghese Kurien was born on November 26, 1921, in Calicut (now Kozhikode), Kerala.
  • Education: He obtained a B.Sc. degree in physics and later degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Madras.
  • Foreign Study: Master's degree in mechanical engineering at Michigan State University, in 1948.
  • Death: He passed away at the age of 91 in 2012.


  • Anand: In 1949, Verghese Kurien was sent to Anand in Gujarat to serve as an officer in the Dairy division for five years as part of the government scholarship he received for his master's.
  • Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd. (KDCMPUL): Verghese Kurien was influenced by the exploitation of farmers by milk distributors and the cooperative movement by Tribhuvandas Patel. Heleft his government job and established KDCMPUL in 1950, which later came to be known as “Amul”.
  • National Dairy Development Board (NDDB): Verghese Kurien founded the NDDB and served as its chairman from 1965 to 1998.

Contributions of Verghese Kurien

Dr. Verghese Kurien is considered the architect and the father of the white revolution in India, which made India self-sufficient in the dairy sector and the world’s largest milk producer.

Revolutionising the Dairy Sector in India

  • He was instrumental in establishing the Milk Cooperative movement in the region, initially known as KDCMPUL and later renamed "Amul."
  • Anand Model: Verghese Kurien's pioneering Anand cooperative model was instrumental in spreading the idea of the white revolution in the dairy sector in other parts of the country.
    • The Anand Pattern is a cooperative model where farmers manage their own procurement, processing, and marketing of produce with professional support.
      • It's successful because it involves farmers in decision-making through elected leaders overseeing professional management.
      • This model includes farmer-owned infrastructure like cooperatives, dairy and feed plants, and marketing systems, linking producers directly to consumers.
    • During his visit to an inaugural cattle breed factory in 1964, former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri realised that the Anand model should be replicated throughout India.
    • Thus, in 1965, the National Dairy Development Board was established and Verghese Kurien was appointed as its chairman.
  • Amul Trinity: He, along with Tribhuvandas Patel and HM Dalaya (Amul Trinity), contributed to the growth of the dairy sector and milk cooperatives.
    • HM Dalaya, a dairy technologist, developed a technique for producing milk powder and condensed milk from buffalo milk.
      • It transformed the Indian dairy industry, as such processed items could previously only be made with cow's milk.

Role of Verghese Kurien in White Revolution

  • Beginning of Operation Flood: Dr. Verghese Kurien led the 'White Revolution', also known as Operation Flood, the world's largest dairy development programme, in 1970. Implemented in three phases, it transformed dairy-deficient India into the world leader in milk production.
  • Guidance to farmers: Under his guidance, the dairy farmers were assisted in directing their own development, giving them control over the resources they generated.
  • Investment: Through an investment of Rs. 1700 crores over 25 years, Operation Flood played a pivotal role in raising India’s milk production in value terms to Rs. 55000 crores per year, an output ratio surpassing other development programmes in the world.
  • Outcome: In forty years, India's annual milk production increased from 23.3 million tonnes in 1968-69 to 100.9 million tonnes in 2006-07. In India, daily per capita milk consumption doubled from 107 grams in 1970 to more than 240 grams in 2006.
  • Significance: It also emerged as one of the largest sources of employment and income for the rural population, especially women.
    • As per the National Council of Applied Economic Research, in Operation Flood areas, more than three-fourths of rural milch animal households belong to the category of small, marginal and landless farmers.

Establishment of Institutions by Verghese Kurien

  • Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA): In 1979, Dr. Verghese Kurien founded the IRMA to provide management training and research support to the country's cooperatives.
  • National Co-operative Dairy Federation: In 1988, he facilitated the restructuring of India's National Co-operative Dairy Federation to provide a National level body for the country's State Co-operative Dairy Federations.
  • Anandalaya Education Society: He founded the Anandalaya Education Society to provide quality school education to the children of employees working in the various institutions in Anand.
  • Vidya Dairy: In 1994, Verghese Kurien helped establish Vidya Dairy to provide students graduating in dairy technology with hands-on experience in dairy plant management.
  • Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation: He established and served as the Chairman of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. from 1973 to 2006.

Edible Oil Industry

  • Dr. Verghese Kurien also revolutionised the edible oil industry by introducing 'Dhara', a cooking oil. 
  • The Oilseeds Grower's Cooperative Project, launched in 1979, established a direct link between oil producers and consumers, reducing the role of oil traders and oil exchanges.
    • This project's main goals were to stabilise oil prices, provide an incentive for oil seed growers to increase production, and reduce India's reliance on oil imports.

Awards and Honours received by Dr. Verghese Kurien

Verghese Kurien received numerous awards and honours for his outstanding contributions in the field of the dairy sector and social programmes.

  • Every year, November 26th is celebrated as National Milk Day.
  • International awards:
    • Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership
    • Wateler Peace Prize Award of Carnegie Foundation
    • World Food Prize
  • National awards:
    • Padma Shri
    • Padma Bhushan
    • Padma Vibhushan
    • Krishi Ratna Award
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PYQs on Verghese Kurien

Question 1: Explain various types of revolutions that took place in Agriculture after Independence in India. How have these revolutions helped in poverty alleviation and food security in India? (UPSC Mains 2017)

FAQs on Verghese Kurien

Who was Verghese Kurien?

Verghese Kurien was a renowned Indian social entrepreneur and the driving force behind India's White Revolution in the dairy sector. Verghese Kurien was pivotal in establishing the Milk Cooperative movement in India, which led to the Anand Model and the White Revolution.

Who is called the “Milkman of India”?

Verghese Kurien is called the "Milkman of India" because of his significant contributions to making India self-sufficient in milk production and transforming the dairy industry in the country.

When is National Milk Day celebrated?

National Milk Day is celebrated on November 26th in honour of Verghese Kurien's birth anniversary. It is significant to recognise his immense contributions to the dairy sector and cooperative movements in India.

Who is the father of India's ‘White Revolution’?

Dr. Verghese Kurien is widely regarded as the father of India's white revolution. He launched Operation Flood to help India's dairy industry.

What is the Amul Trinity?

Tribhuvandas Patel, the founding chairman of Amul; H. M Dalaya, the dairy specialist, and Verghese Kurien, the technocrat who was responsible for building Amul, these all three are collectively known as Amul Trinity.