Dr. Verghese Kurien


Dr. Verghese Kurien was the Founder Chairman of National Dairy Development Board from 1965 to 1998. He is the architect of India’s White Revolution, which helped India emerge as the largest milk producer in the world.

In the late 60s Dr. Kurien drew up a project called Operation Flood. Through an investment of Rs. 1700 crores spread across 25 years, Operation Flood helped to raise India’s milk production in value terms to Rs. 55000 crores per annum an output ratio unmatched by any other development programme in the world. Operation Flood has emerged as India’s largest rural employment programme and unleashed the larger dimension of dairy development institutional, techno-economic, industrial and social.

Dr. Kurien’s innovative mind and leadership was harnessed not only in dairy development, but also in other spheres like edible oils, fruits and vegetables.

At the request of the Govt. of India, in the mid-80s he set up a pilot project for procurement and marketing of fruits and vegetables in Delhi.  The project aimed to provide a direct link between fruit and vegetable growers in a number of states and consumers in Delhi.

Dr. Kurien also revolutionized the edible oil business by introducing ‘Dhara’. Launched in 1979, the Oilseeds Grower’s Cooperative Project established a direct link between the producers and consumers of oil thus reducing the role of oil traders and oil exchanges. The important objectives of this project were to stabilize oil prices, provide an incentive to the oilseed grower to raise production and reduce India’s dependence on oil imports.

Dr. Kurien is a man of vision and ended up as an institution builder. He started the Institute of Rural Management (IRMA) at Anand in 1979 to provide management training and research support to the cooperatives being established all over the country. He facilitated the restructuring the National Co-operative Dairy Federation of India, in 1988, to provide a National level body for the country’s State Co-operative dairy federations. To provide quality school education to the children of employees working in the different institutions in Anand he established the Anandalaya Education Society. In 1994 he helped to set up Vidya Dairy to provide hand on experience in dairy plant management to students graduating in dairy technology. He also served as Founder Chairman of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd, from 1973 to 2006.

Dr. Kurien’s main contribution has been designing of systems and institutions, which enable people to develop themselves, as he believed development of man, can best be achieved by putting in his hands, the instruments of development.  He believed that the greatest assets of this country, are its people and he has dedicated his life to the task of harnessing the power of the people in a manner which promotes their larger interests.

During his illustrious career, Dr. Verghese Kurien won many accolades and awards including the Ramon Magsasay Award for Community Leadership, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Krishi Ratna Award, Wateler Peace Prize Award of Carnegie Foundation, World Food Prize Laureate, International Person of the Year by the World Dairy Expo, Madison, Wisconsin, USA and the Padma Vibhushan.