Federation First

By Dr Mukund Naware 

Dr Naware shares two innovative solutions that he came out with to create grass root organisational structures that are producer owned and commanded, sensitive to their needs and responsive to their aspirations.

That is the essence of Anand Pattern.
However, while the dairy sector projects largely succeeded the oilseed project which had an equally promising prospect to rid India of edible oil imports could not deliver on its promise.

Some day we shall discuss this too !

By 1977 the Amul model had become a three tier structure with Dairy Cooperative Societies (DCS) at village level, Milk Unions at District level and a Federation of Unions at the State level. The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation had come into being this way.

NDDB adopted this model under Operation Flood (OF) phase two.

In late nineteen seventies NDDB also took up the Oilseed Projects wherein somewhat similar model with a Producers’ Society for a group of villages, Regional Union Of couple of districts and their State Federation was contemplated. Here again NDDB had felt that having the State Federation in the beginning itself would be a better option as it can be the Implementing Agency for the project for the entire state.

With this approach formation of State Cooperative Federation had become our first pre-program action in the States.

As a result during my tenure in Regional Office, Bangalore from 1978 onwards most of our time in the initial years was spent on modalities like discussing the cooperative bye laws with State officials. After having them finalized the next step was to bring State Federations in to existence and seek their registration under the State Cooperative Act as legal entities.

Thereafter they were to enter into agreement with NDDB for financial assistance to get going with project activities. However, forming Cooperative Societies at village level was the major activity for viability of the Federation which we did not want to compromise. Therefore, the creation of State Federation in the beginning itself ( in absence of Societies and Unions ) had become crucial and challenging both. It was under the leadership of Shri A. Banerjee Director (SR) that we started the work.

I will narrate two cases here to illustrate problems faced and how we solved them.

The Kerala Coop Milk Mktg. Federation (KCMMF)

The State of Kerala was neither covered under first phase of Operation Flood nor it was taken up under the World Bank aided project ( as in case of Karnataka ). Even Operation Floodphase II document had no mention of Kerala. All these things together were good enough for the then Chief Minister of Kerala to lodge a rightful complaint with the Chairman NDDB/ IDC and ask for assistance of at least a few Crore of Rupees for Kerala. It was good that the complaint was received well and both the agencies went ahead to examine whether the State could be covered under OF II.

If there is a will there is a way is as the old saying goes and things worked out.

A project report for Kerala was prepared by NDDB and soon it was appraised by IDC. The document stated that in some seven districts adequate number of DCSs could be organized but a Union in each district wes not viable. Therefore, the concept of Regional Milk Union was floated with Trivandrum Milk Union in southern part covering three districts and Ernakulam Milk Union in central region covering 4 districts. These two Regional Milk Unions would form the Kerala State Milk Federation and thereby the whole set up was found viable.

Accordingly the Kerala Govt. signed a memorandum of understanding with IDC and the things started moving.

In a series of meetings we finalized the cooperative bye laws to include salient features of Anand Pattern. Then the immediate step was to have the State Dairy Federation registered so that it becomes the Implementing Agency.

But the major hurdle was that there was no cooperative infrastructure below and the apex body was to be formed. Like Shiva temple in Ellora caves carved in rock from top to bottom! There was urgency too. We discussed that in few meetings but there was no outcome.

Then the day came when in a meeting with the Secretary to the Govt. (Agriculture/ Cooperation Department) the formation of the State Dairy Federation was to be finally decided.

Joint Secretary ( Agriculture and Cooperation) , Registrar of Cooperative Societies (RCS), Director of Animal Husbandry, tState Milk Commissioner and the Managing Director of State Milk Marketing Board (MILMA) were present at the meeting.

I was representing NDDB. The RCS said that the bye laws were finalized for the State Federation but he would like ensure that it should be formed without much of compromise with the provisions in the State Cooperative Act. He said that any proposal for registration of a cooperative society in Kerala needed at least five persons from different families to become promoters.

At this point I suddenly remembered somebody having told me that in the initial stage of Kaira Union, the founder Chairman Shri Tribhuvandas Patel had approached some friends with a request for contribution in share capital while enrolling them as Individual Members. Then I addressed the State Secretary and said that ultimately the State Federation is set to have membership of (only) two Regional Milk Unions and that is bound to take some time and there has to be stop gap arrangement till then. I suggested that in the initial stage let some officials come together and move the Apex Federation proposal. Those present in the meeting could as well come forward and contribute One Share each. It could be their personal money or borrowed from State Treasury. I further said that there should be a transitory bye law saying that in future the Shares held by these individuals shall be transferred in the name of Regional Milk Unions as and when they become members of the Kerala State Federation. My suggestion was accepted by the Secretary and he gave further instructions then and there.

This way the Kerala Cooperative Milk Mktg. Federation was registered sometime in 1980. It is to be noted that after Gujarat it became the first State Federation to be formed under OF II, all from a scratch.

The top was formed first and bottom was created later.


The Karnataka Cooperative Oilseed Growers’ Federation (KOF)


When Oilseed Project was launched a three tier pattern was altogether a new idea. I don’t think oilseed farmers were organized that way anywhere in India. At national level the project was aimed at creating self sufficiency in oilseed sector and reduce imports of edibles oils. Perhaps there were directives to this effect from Central Govt. and we were getting good response from concerned departments of the State Governments in going ahead with the project. As a result In southern region we could initiate activities in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (and Andhra Pradesh also joined later). I will briefly narrate the case of formation of KOF.

The project report prepared by NDDB had identified two traditional belts in northern Karnataka where it was found feasible to organize Oilseed Growers’ Cooperative Societies for a group of two three adjoining villages. These belts were Dharwad and Raichur where Regional Unions were to be formed in later stage based on their individual viability and these Regional Unions were to become members of the KOF.

Soon the State Govt. signed the Memorandum Of Understanding with NDDB and the things started moving. Shri V. S. Behla, our Director (SR), was very keen to initiate the project activity. Under his leadership we finalized the bye laws for three levels of cooperative set up. Then in a high level meeting held in Vidhan Soudha it was decided that the Govt. would ask the Agriculture and Cooperative departmental staff in Dharwad and Raichur division to work under the guidance and close association of NDDB Teams and organize Oilseed Growers Societies in a time bound manner.

Soon we formed two member teams of IRMA graduates and sent them to Dharwad and Raichur regions to organize primary societies. As I remember they were Srinivas Ramanujam, Amburose, and Chellappa assisted by DV Srinivas, Extn Worker. These teams worked in the field and in couple of months they formed adequate number of primary societies systematically by conducting village surveys and addressing the farmers in Gram Sabha so as to educate them in organizational philosophy. These primary societies were also registered under the State Cooperative Act. With this spade work done it was right time to register the State Federation i.e. KOF as Implementing Agency of the Oilseeds Project.

Accordingly we called our teams to Bangalore and in a joint meeting with the State officials we decided a schedule to convene meeting of the Chairmen of the newly formed primary societies in Bangalore. In that meeting we were to help them to move and pass necessary resolutions to elect Chief Promoter and other Promoters, to resolve to have Federation with Model Bye laws in place, to authorize the Chief Promoter to collect share capital from the primary societies and to authorize him to open the Account in State Cooperative Bank and deposit the share capital amount in that account, etc.

In a fortnight that meeting was arranged. The Chairmen came, stayed and attended the meeting duly convened. To suit convenience of all it was held in afternoon and it was attended by the officials of the Cooperative Department. It seemed that they had instructions to complete the formality on that day itself. However, the proceedings continued beyond 5:30 PM. Once that was over our officers returned to Regional Office and the time was past 6 PM. The officials of the Cooperative Department had also come with them. Peculiar situation was that they wanted the prescribed Application forms already signed by Promoters but along with the certified copy of the entire proceedings of the meeting. However, the proceedings were recorded in a Proceeding Register and it was not possible for us to get them typed since the office staff had left. I promised them that the typed documents would be sent to them next day.

Then they said that they had already brought the Certificate of Registration of the KOF duly signed, and sealed and they wanted it to be delivered on the same day! One of the officers then took out the Certificate from his briefcase and kept it on my table. It was a big surprise for me and also revelation as to how Govt. can function if there is will and a clear directive. However, it was not possible for us to comply with their requirement to have ‘Complete Application’ that day at that hour.

It was then agreed that on the next day we would send all the documents to their office positively before 11 AM. However, since the Certificate of Registration was already issued by them they delivered it to us and obtained our signatures in their Outward Registrar for having received it. All in good faith. The Dy Registrar told me to keep that Certificate in safe custody as they were to get supporting papers from us only on the next day. Needless to say we did it.

Thus the KOF was formed one day ahead of even submission of Complete Application. But it was formed from Societies in bottom to Federation at the top.


Tailpiece: When KOF was registered the State Govt. issued orders and the then MD, Karnataka Milk Federation was given additional charge as MD of KOF. The NDDB, OVOW started allotting barrels of imported edible oil to KOF. As the consumer packing started the MD KOF wanted suggestions for its Brand name. Shri V.S. Behla our Director (SR) asked me if I had any suggestion. On the next day I suggested name ” Dhara ” meaning “Flow” as ultimately in KOF the Flow of oil was to come from धारवाड and रायचूर, धा and रा making it धारा. The alternate suggestion was राधा. I don’t know what happened thereafter but the Brand name धारा came into existence. This is only to remember the past and no claim of any sort.


Contributed by Dr Mukund Naware NDDB 1972 – 1986. He spent five years in field and was in RO Bangalore, for more than eight years. He was also Manager (Procurement) for F& V Project, Mother Dairy, Delhi during 1985-1986.

2 thoughts on “Federation First”

  1. Dipankar Chattopadhyay

    It was 1980 to 1984, as CEO of one milk union in Orissa, I was in Board of Orissa Milk Federation. I did palpated the regular ideological differences between IAS MD of Orissa Federation with NDDB. I personally witnessed in few occasions, when MD NDDB, used to tell us that advocating 3 tier system might be NDDB’s wrong decision.
    Today, after 38 years, except State, “Anand Pattern” in true sense in nothing but a State Govt department.

  2. Dr SC Malhotra

    Dr Naware,

    Kerala was unique not only in State Federation first, Regional Milk Unions instead of one district one union; it kept it uniqueness at village level too.

    In India, by and large, a villages has a well defined cluster of houses surrounded by fields and some kind of a boundary of local bushes or something like that. While travelling one can clearly make out that one is reaching a village or leaving it.

    That was not the case in Kerala. I being from North India when started working in Kerala found that there is no beginning nor any end of any village. I started from Trivandrum by road to have a look of the area and reached Ernakulum, almost 250 kms, was stunned to see the continuity of scattered houses and found people on the road and on pathways everywhere.

    I asked my colleagues “where are the villages” & the reply was entire Kerala is one village Sir.
    Arey ? how and where to organise DCS. As per our training it has to be one village one society. Here we changed our concept of one village one society….. here we made societies comprising of “wards”. Depending upon the cattle population/ keeping distance in mind societies were organised of 2, 3 or 4 wards irrespective of villages.

    As there were some traditional societies too, we named our societies as APCOS … Anand Pattern Cooperative Societies.

    Dr SC Malhotra

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