Following the success of the Green Revolution which resulted in the increase in production of rice and wheat, the India government has taken up Operation Flood Programme to increase the production of milk and make India one of the largest producers of milk in the world. The phenomenal increase in the production of milk in the country is christened as the White Revolution.
The White Revolution played a significant role in improving the living standards of the rural poor and consequently the rural economy. The co-operatives, which were set up to increase the production of milk in the villages, had played a key role in the progress of the rural economy. It will be no exaggeration if the prosperity in many of the Indian villages in attributed to the White Revolution.
The Operation Flood Programme had 73,930 dairy cooperatives by March 1997 covering more than three and half crore farmer members. Because of the innovative strategies adopted by these dairy cooperatives under the leadership of Dr. Kurien, the milk production reached the estimated level of 710 lakh tones during 1997-98.
The Technology Mission on Dairy Development launched by the Government of India in 1988 is going all out to consolidate the gains of the White Revolution and increase the income and employment opportunities in the rural areas.
With increasing number of rural people taking to dairy projects to supplement their income, if not as a source of their main income, the milk production in the ensuring years is bound to increase dramatically, making India the largest producer of milk in the world, the position occupied by the United States of America today.
While we can take pride in our country emerging as the largest producer of milk in the world after a few years, this achievement will not be without problems. Can we consume the entire milk produced in the country? This may not be possible given the fact that a large proportion of the Indian population does not have the economic strength to buy and consume the milk produced in the country.
This means, India has to export milk which may not be possible as we cannot compete with the USA or the European countries in this regard. So while the White Revolution has benefited the rural areas of our country considerably, the revolution may not be sustained beyond a point because of the lack of purchasing power of the poor Indians, and the bleak prospects on the export front.