All along we have subscribed to the notion, and Dr Kurien was very firm on this, that the job of the Government is governance and not business. We at the NDDB, promoted the cooperative sector as a form of managing business, where the ownership of the enterprise, vested with the major stakeholders (farmer producers). Although, we came under the purview of the Government of India, we never thought that we were Government.
The NDDB Act 37 of 1987, was designed for and by the NDDB to work in such a way that NDDB had the freedom to implement programs and projects, without major Government involvement or influence. The proposed modifications in the 1987 Act are in favour of the private sector, such that it can exercise strong influence on the operation of the NDDB, by having a Director from the private sector. When we look at the form of management and ownership of the cooperative, private and public sectors, we can visualise and distinguish the philosophy of doing business. While business profitability is the bottom-line, who benefits from the profits earned is the crux of the matter. Surely, we understand that clearly.
This has major implications on prices of the products and services offered, with the market equations of demand and supply playing a major role. 69 years after Air India was taken over by the Government of India, it has been handed back to its rightful owners, the Tatas at a price of Rs 18,000 crores. In this period the GOI sustained losses many times this value, but it used it to provide subsidized services to the citizens and mostly the employees of the Government of India. But it learnt that the business of the Government is not business but governance, the view that Dr Aneja subscribed to and spoke about it in 1989, and Dr Kurien and all of us at the NDDB firmly believed and practiced, but with a difference.
We showed to the world, that even though we were monitored by the Government, we had the freedom to perform without its interference. If Dr Aneja and Dr Kurien could standup and speak for the NDDB, it was on the strength that we provided to the organisation in terms of our commitment to the cause, our ability to deliver and the thoroughness of our knowledge. I am aware that many of us had to leave the NDDB under somewhat tragic circumstances, created by difference of thinking, but when we look back we realize that whatever happened was the best.
We are happy that we worked for an institution where Dr Kurien and Dr Aneja provided leadership, and the institution performed to establish an industry were milk and oil flow, fruits and vegetables travel thousands of miles to reach us, and where trees and bushes grow to green India sustainably. All of this with the current line of thinking that development should be based on a sustainable environment.NDDB was our pride when we worked and will always remain our pride.
Let’s pray that our institution lives forever, and always remain the cynosure of our eyes and the beat of our hearts, for we have given it breath and breadth.