On 26 November, National Milk Day is observed throughout India in honor of Dr. Verghese Kurien, the man credited with spearheading the white revolution. He was a key player in ‘Operation Flood’, which boosted India’s dairy industry to the status of the country’s largest self-sustaining industry.
National Milk Day: History
The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), the Indian Dairy Association (IDA), and 22 state-level milk federations in 2014 together decided to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Verghese Kurien who was known as the father of India’s White Revolution on 26 November. Therefore, the first National Milk Day was observed on 26 November 2014.
Significance of the day
According to the Economic Survey of India 2021-2022, India is ranked first in milk production and contributes about 23 percent of global milk production. Not just that, Dairy is the single largest agricultural commodity that contributes 5 percent to the national economy, employing more than 8 crore farmers directly.
Milk production in India has grown at a rate of 6.2 per cent annually, and all of this is achieved today because of Dr. Verghese Kurien’s initiative in making Indian self-sufficient in milk production. His idea doubled the milk available for each person and increased milk output four-fold in 30 years. He started the production of milk powder from buffalo milk instead of from cow milk, which was in short supply in India.
Who was Dr. Verghese Kurien?
He was born in Kozhikode, Kerala, on 26 November 1921, to a wealthy Syrian Christian family. Due to his leadership of Operation Flood, the largest agricultural program in the world, Dr. Kurien is known as the “Father of the White Revolution” in India.
In order to fix the prices charged, he helped organize the Delhi Milk Scheme and formed 30 organizations, all of that was managed by farmers and employees. He is credited with industrializing dairy production and founding the Amul brand. Due to Dr. Kurien’s work, India surpassed the US to become the world’s largest milk producer in 1998.
Dr. Kurien has received numerous awards, including the Krishi Ratna, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, and the World Food Prize. He has earned the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan, India’s three highest civilian honors.