Visitors may download this presentation or view it here. Many more suggestions entries have been received as comments on Facebook Groups. I will keep on adding those too.
Designed by Mr. A Barooha, Creative director of CONCEPT Markeing & Advertising. Bombay. It was originally meant for Indian Dairy Corporation(IDC), in 27.7.71, But the design “Drop” was selected for IDC , and NDDB took over the Mohan-ja-daro BULL .
Moved to present campus (sometime in 1970) , Architect AP Kanvinde & Rai , New Delhi, Civil Construction by civil by Ms Himatbhai J. Patel, Anand. contractor.
NDDB was registered in 1965 under the Bombay Trust Act 1950 and thereafter under Societies Registration Act on 23rd sept 1967. Dr. V Kurien as it’s founder Chairman. It became a body corporate after the Indian Parliament passed NDDB Act 37 of 1987.
Office locations of NDDB over the years
NDDB office first started functioning from was a rented house near the present Amul Dairy main gate. This particular house has since been demolished by its owners and a commercial building has come up in its place.
NDDB then moved on to the third floor on Amul’s main admin. building on a monthly rent of Rs.3000/. inclusive of furniture etc. borrowed from AMUL. For the key positions, initially Dr.Kurien borrowed the services of Amul`s staff . NDDB office moved to current campus location in 1970.
Some Firsts at NDDB
First honorary. Secretary of NDDB Mr. NN Thakker of Amul.
First honorary treasurer Mr. JM Shah, Accounts Officer of Amul.
First full time Secretary of NDDB Dr SC Ray as Secretary, NDDB, Dr.Ray was a retired Milk Commissioner of West Bengal and Dairy Development Advisor, Govt. of India.
First full time Treasurer –NF Rangwalla,
First accounts clerk – George Kurien,
First Assistant in Administration Arvind Patel
First Cashier Naginbhai Patel
First Personal Assistant in NDDB – BK Iyer,
First librarian – ShirishPatel
First PRO – Vikramsinh Rana, Yuva Raja of erstwhile Jambughoda State
First driver – Rajnibhai Parmar
First Peon –cum-duplicating machine operator, Fataji parmar
Tea(morning and afternoon) was served at Rs.6 per month (Martin Parmar was inchrge)
First Estate officer and all-in-one on this campus – Vasant s kulkarni
First Gardner-cum,-watchman on this campus – Sarjuraam
First electrician- Rambhai Vanker
First carpenter- Ajmeri
First medical officer – Dr.Ashabhai patel
First official warden of the hostel – Shailendra Kumar followed by shekar roy , who joined NDDB along with Deepak tikku and others, as apprentice engineers/apprentice executives.
First receptionist – Mrs.Uma Guptey
First Matron at the guest house Mrs.Uma Guptey
First cook at the guest house, – Ramachandran
First cook at the hostel Raojibhai,
First official photographer – Thakker senior Proprietor National Studio, Anand , followed by his son Shirish Thakker. It is said that Shri Thakker senior clicked the first photo of Dr.Kurien & Mrs. Kurien on their return after getting married.
First official news paper reporter: ND Zaveri of PTI
First movie screened on the campus at the small auditorium – Summer of 42(black and white in 16 mm). The auditorium was under construction, and the chairs were not even fixed then. Everyone sat on the unfinished concrete stairs, watched the movie quietly. Before that movies on 16 mm were shown in front of the hostel.
First Garba on the campus was initiated by Mrs. Bhartiben jhala(w/o. late Shri GM Jhala a former secretary of NDDB , ) – in front of the hostel, about a dozen persons were present.
First holi celebrations on the campus initiated by sinha family whose house was also known as ‘bachelors headquarters`; there is not a single bachelor at that time who had not tasted tea and bhajiaat their D-1 ground floor quarters, offered by Mrs. Sinha.
Creation of Boho club – BOHO (BUFFALOES OF THE HIGHEST ORDER) named by PT Jacob who got a prize too of Rs 21 or so. Entry free for suggesting a name was Rs 1/- and the money thus collected was to be given to the person whose suggested name for the club got chosen. Shri Ashok Koshy IAS organised this.
First Christmas father (Santa Clause – G rajan) who continued till 1998.
First badminton team of BOHO club – MK Sinha and G Rajan played and lost against Amul’s team HM Dalaya(DGM,Amul) and Mrs. Sheela Dalaya.
The first excursion cum picnic organized by BOHO club – to river Mahi at vasad, (organized by Ashok koshy, Exe. Asstt. to Dr.Kurien, chairman. All the families living on the campus (total around 50) participated in this picnic. All went by train Ticket cost 0.50 paise.per head, paid by BOHO.
The first donor of books to BOHO club – RH Variava a Deputy Secretary ( a dozen of old Readers Digest Books), followed by Ms. Nirmala & Mrs.Kurien with a rosewood cupboard full of children’s books
The first ICL 2950 Computer arrived on the campus on 23.9.1978
The first and only PC computer operator at that time was Oman Kuttan, popularly known as OK.
The first long distance STD connection from Baroda exchange to Anand was to Chairman NDDB Dr.Kurien’s office (helped by DET, Khare), This was much before the advent of STD.
The first long distance underground HT connection was provided to NDDB campus (Mr.Gangadharan, Supdt Engineer) – while Anand city may not have power but NDDB will have continuous supply of electric power thanks to this HT connection.
The first FAO Advisor, with an Indian heart, who scripted tons of documents for and on behalf of NDDB & Dr.Kurien, including Operation Flood,I,II & III project, Oil Project documents etc – Dr.Michael Halse. Popularly known as Mike he He worked with NDDB from 1968-1983. A UK national, MBA and PhD from Harvard, Mike was also one of the founding team members of IIM-Ahmedabad.When NDDB was formed in 1965 Mike was one of the founding members of the NDDB board a position he held till his appointment as FAO advisor and later Team Leader Of FAO Advisers attached to NDDB.
As mentioned earlier this list has been compiled by Shri G.Rajan, NDDB, (1969 - 1996)
It was first read at Reminisces-I A reunion of former NDDB employees held at NDDB campus, Anand on 28th February / 1st March 2015 and at Reminiscences-II held ion February15,16, 2020 it was used for asking questions as a quiz. Please suggest changes, if any, and also share other “firsts” which are not listed here.
I was transferred from SAG Bidaj a “Mecca” for veterinarian to heavenly NDDB , Campus in Anand in 1985 thus life and work both got an U turn!
Lifted from a remote place surrounded with only green lustrous fields and cattle habitats to a paradise interspersed with green carpeting with beautiful layout in the modern complex was a gift of destiny !
It is always true that light follows shadow and vice versa in life !
I was overwhelmed on getting an opportunity to join the Manpower Development Division under Dr. SP Mittal.
I started really enjoying! the the trans formal change that happened in the kind of assignments, tasks that I now handled.
I became a part of the team that conceptualised, designed and offered training to different groups of stakeholders as per the mandate of the Manpower Development Division. However, I was always interested in taking up more challenges in this area as these add “flavour” to the “taste” !
Initially, I coordinated training programs in co-operative development on Anand pattern for farmers and supervisors. I was later assigned with the responsibility of coordinating International program as well.
One such program that I was handling had participants from Sri Lanka.
Along with class room sessions we used to take them for orientation study tour to various organisations like AMUL,Dudhasagar Dairy Mehsana ,Man Sinh Institute of Training,etc.
I accompanied the Srilankan participants on one such study tour for.
While returning from Mehsana,we had scheduled a halt at Ahmedabad near the Indian Airlines office ,Lal darwaja in the heart of the city as participants wanted to endorse their return air ticket.
We returned safely and post study tour evaluation showed that the participants were quite satisfied.
Suddenly ,a participant found that his wallet was missing. In that wallet he had kept some cash and passport ! We tried to urgently urgently at SAGP office in Ahmedabad and briefed about the matter requesting them to check with the Indian Airlines office if by chance they have received a lost wallet !
The enquiries that SAGP made with the counter operators at the Airlines office in Ahmedabad were futile. There t was no clues. Adding fuel to raging fire, there was a postal strike so it became difficult to contact Srilankan Embassy in Delhi !
In the meanwhile, at the weekend I proceeded on a few days leave to Ahmedabad where my brother was residing.
At the back of my mind, I was thinking the miserable condition of person who had lost his return ticket. It did not allow me to sleep.
The next day morning I contacted Shri. KC Patel who was in-charge at SAGP,Ahmedabad and I went to his office to personally enquire about the lost wallet but there was no positive sign.
I requested KC to make his office landline phone free for me for half an hour.
I scratched my head , a thought sparkled out of my subconscious to call the Station Manager, Indian Airlines,
While the phone rang at the other end, I was held the receiver with a pounding heart. I was praying for a miracle to happen! Those moments appeared as if they would last till eternity.
Finally the station Manager came on line and I explained the matter lucidly, before one could say “Jack Robinson” , he said ,” Hold on Sir, my driver, Gopal has found a wallet. There is an air ticket and passport in the wallet. However, there is no money”!
I missed a heartbeat and virtually jumped out of my chair. I asked him keep the wallet safely with him. He insisted that we send the person who had lost his ticket as the Airline would give it only to that person and no one else.
We were all relieved and contacted NDDB Anand office.
Dr.Mittal was surprised and asked “How come you reached SAGP office and sorted out this issue? “
I narrated the whole episode and he had such words of praise for that made my spirits soar even higher !
Thus, the NDDB taught me another lesson “How to discharge duties in a responsible manner”.
It was a turning point for me as dealing with outside agencies and liaison became my strength that later helped me accomplish many a formidable tasks!’
Sometime in 1980 a meeting/workshop was convened at NDDB Anand to discuss the modalities for implementation of Operation Flood (OF) phase II. The Phase II was to cover 155 districts and the State Dairy Federations were to be the Implementing Agencies.
The phase I of OF wherein NDDB sent Spear Head Teams (SHT) was over and the idea of sending a State Coordinator for each Federation had emerged. Senior officers of NDDB and IDC who could be sent as State Coordinators were called at Anand so that greater clarity on the role that a State Coordinator was expected to play and dos and dont were to be discussed.
I had participated from RO Bangalore.
Tolerance to ambiguity
I remember the lead speaker was Dr Malati Bolar who was invited to deliberate on the topic most appropriately titled as ‘Tolerance to Ambiguity’ ! She made us aware of the complex situation any organization may face and how it could be tackled by gathering experience of all.
In that workshop broader objectives of OF II including the details of the plan of action such as coverage of number of village; farmers to be brought under the ambit of the cooperatives; milch animals to be brought under Animal Health Care;AI Centers to be established using frozen semen; animals to be be covered so as to raise National Milch Herd that would ultimately increase the per capita milk availability etc. were shared.
On the next day towards the end of our program we had a meeting with Dr. Kurien , Chairman NDDB/IDC. All the senior officers of both the organizations were also present.
State level federations under Operation Flood -II
Dr. Kurien told us why the idea of having State Cooperative Federation was mooted. In his opinion the State Dairy Corporations had become bureaucracies and that there was a need to replace them with Farmers’ Organisation, a Federation at the start of the project itself so that in future there would not be questions raised on transfer of milk processing plants to unions and the farmers will retain their rights. He also briefly explained the important provisions in the proposed Memorandum of Understanding to be signed like a State Govt. guarantee for repayment of loan, setting up of Audit Board etc.
Towards the end we were asked questions if we had any doubt or clarifications to seek.
There was some response but I remember one question very well.
One participant mentioned that the broad objective of OF II was to raise milk availability through genetic improvement in cows and buffaloes for which a massive effort would be made using frozen semen technology and paraphernalia.
He further elaborated, that this effort could be useful only if there is culling of cows and buffaloes and the culling means eliminating the inferior stock from the herd at every stage which every breeding program taken up anywhere in the world has acknowledged. This question was indirectly touching the issue of cow slaughter. The questioner then requested the Chairman why this particular aspect was missing in the project and why this is also not been raised at Govt. level.
Have patience and change will happen
Dr. Kurien replied to that question citing a couple of examples which were quite interesting.
First he mentioned about a certain delegation from Pakistan that had come to India to study dairy development in India. On completion of their visit to Anand they came to meet Dr. Kurien. However, when they were about to leave he found one of the delegates in tears.
When Dr. Kurien enquired about the reason the delegate said that he was moved by the efforts made by India in dairying. The delegate had said that ‘ both Pakistan and India became independent at the same time but India did well in preserving dairy breeds whereas in Pakistan they have eaten away most of the cattle.’ Citing this, Dr. Kurien said that we should look positively on issues like this.
Citing the second case, Dr. Kurien said he worked with Chairman Shri Tribhuvandas Patel who was a Gandhian worker and followed all its principles like a religion.
” Shri Patel was hundred percent Vegetarian and I have no doubt about it whereas, the same can not be said about his son who went to US and settled there. He may or may not have tasted meat. But if you ask me about the grandson of Tribhuvandas Patel who is born and brought up there I would not be surprised if eating meat may have become a routine for him, unless he decides against doing so”, he said. “This is what happens over the generations.”
Dr. Kurien continued. “People will change , we have to give time. As it is we have been asking for so many changes. But if you ask too many changes, then the easiest thing for them is that they will change you. Therefore you have to have patience that one day or the other change will be there.”
Dr. Kurien told his Mantra and with that the meeting ended.
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.
Most of my former colleagues are now very senior citizens. Many of them are not technology savvy. To set up this blog dedicated to audio stories was a technological challenge for me too.
It has taken me three days to finally figure out a way to upload audio files on Vrikshamandir. I decided not to take help from any of my young friends from the IT companies in Gurugram who would have done this in minutes. But at this stage in my life
अबजिनगीमेंअउरकाहै” तबकुछख़ुराफ़ाततोज़रूरीहै !
What motivated me to do was a conversation and exchange of messages I had with Dr SC Malhotra ( NDDB 1972). I requested him to contribute stories for Vrikshamandir.
His reply was “Typing is an issue with me Shail Babu”.
I said “Please record your story and share the audio file on WhatsApp. I will type it out.”
He obliged after a couple of reminders.
However, after listening to his recorded story, I decided to upload the audio files as received from him.
His voice is same as before. His story telling style is as usual ग़ज़ब.
Dr Malhotra ki kahani unki hi jabani
Dr Malhotra ki kahani unki hi jabani
1- Dr Malhotra describes his job hunt in 1972
2- Dr Malhotra describes his interview for a job at NDDB in 1972. That was his first visit to Anand too!
3- Dr. Malhotra describes his bus yatra from Jagnath Mahadev to Amul and meeting legendary Dr Ashabhai Patel for Medical Examination and visit to TB Hospital for X ray
4- Dr Malhotra describes his joyous moment of getting an appointment letter , meeting farmers from Rohtak , having preetibhoj with Rohtak farmers visiting Anand and Shri Tribhuvandasbhai Patel founder Chairman of Amul (whose 26 th Punya Tithi is today 3rd June 2020) and visit with legendary Dr AAChothani to villages in Rohtak
5- Dr Malhotra continues his story. His return to Anand and moving from Pathikashram to Campus. Meeting Mr. VS Kulkarni our Estate Officer cum Hostel Warden those days. Shri Kulkarni made the NDDB campus what it is today. Shri Kulkarni was earlier working with the Aarey Milk Colony.He was the one who made the campus beautiful through his meticulous planning and laying out green lawns, planting trees, creating flowers beds and setting up such high standards of maintenance right from the beginning.
6- Dr Malhotra after having settled in the NDDB hostel shares details of the training ( हिंदीमेंरगड़ाई) he and other members of the multidisciplinary team of 16 comprising Veterinarians, those having qualifications in Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Technology, received under Dr AA Chothani and Dr HC Gupta others at Amul. He also describes how he was pulled up on one occasion by Dr Gupta for not behaving in a manner befitting an employee of farmers.
7- In this episode Dr. Malhotra decides to give a twist to his story told so far..
Instead he speaks only about Dr. Kurien.
How Dr. Kurien could be like a child while talking to a child and showed leadership of purpose while motivating field staff through his writings.
Dr Kurien wrote in a letter to Dr Chothani .. ……..
Dr Malhotra recalls, ……..”Dr Chothani, Tell your boys they are not there to collect milk. Had I been after collecting milk only I would have hundred ways to collect milk and send milk to Rohtak or Delhi. Tell them that they are there to build organisations. They are there to replicate Anand. They are there to have confidence of farmers. Milk will flow if not today after five years it will flow. Tell them not to get disheartened…..”
8- Dr Malhotra started sharing the story of his professional life journey from 1971 when he completed his Bachelors Degree in Veterinary and Animal Husbandry from Hisaar in Haryana.
He shared how he visited Anand for an interview at NDDB Anand and got selected not only by the interview panel but was found fit by the legendary Visiting Doctor of Amul and NDDB those days, Ashabhai Patel. After initial training at Amul and then field visits and on the job training under Dr AA Chothani in Rohtak and movement from Pathik Ashram to the “luxurious” environs of the NDDB hostel.
He spoke about the extraordinary leadership of Dr. Kurien and how Dr Kurien motivated the field staff.
A journey which began from Haryana now reaches Kerala the Gods own Country via Gujarat. He continues his stories of Dr Kurien in episode 8 as well, his meeting with Dr Kurien… Enjoy Cheers !
9- After a break of about three weeks, Dr Malhotra has come out with another edition of his audio story.
This time it is titled “Dholi Jeep” धौलीजीप . He shares stories of the time he spent in Rohtak and Gurgaon as Apprentice Executive working with different Team Leaders. ( MK Sinha, Dr Chothani Dr Subnis ( Amul) and others ) and in the absence of a Senior Team Leader becoming a Team Leader himself.. Lot of learning and becoming street smart ! Being posted in that area during the emergency time and moving in a White Jeep with Operation Flood written on it with the logo of the “drop” ￼
people used to get confused and run away lest the Good Doctor does an operation on them …
10- Once upon a time, before independence of India, Kheda milk strike happened. At the call given by Sardar Patel milk producers of Kheda refused to supply milk to Polson for sale to consumers in Mumbai. The Kheda milk strike in a way gave birth to the idea of cooperative dairying and Amul was born. This happened under the leadership of Shri Morarjibhai and Shri Tribhuvandasbhai.
Come mid 1970’s around emergency time the NDDB spearhead team in Gurgaon / Rohtak of which Dr Malhotra was a member did something that led to a milk strike of another kind. Not the milk producers this time the Dudhiyas went on strike and there was no milk in the city of Gurgaon which is now called the millennium city!
In episode 10 let us hear from Dr Malhotra about this reverse milk strike when Dudhiyas refused to supply milk in Gurgaon !
He also explains his views of the secret of success of Operation Flood and Bombay style living of SHT members in Gurgaon.
11- In this 11th episode Dr Malhotra shares in his own style some interesting stories of the contrasting lifestyles of NDDB employees like him in mid seventies. While living at the NDDB Hostel Anand employees like him had access to having a room with attached bath and white linen on the bed but when they got posted in the field they had to make do with whatever was available like using the open fields in villages of Mewat region of Gurgaon for answering the nature’s call, walking with holdol on head and suitcase in hand on a dark night with dogs barking behind in search for the house of the village Sarpanch so that they get a place to sleep and also get some food!
12- Dr. Malhotra after a gap of over a month shares 12th episode of his audio stories. This time he talks of school days and some thing called neem garam ( नीमगरम ) . Listen to his new rendering of his school days. We all had school days didn’t we?
His village as described in this audio clip to me appeared to be more like a taluka town or a Kasba. I have not shared this thought with him. What is your view?
13 – Dr SCM after a long time returns with another offering of his audio stories. The Bihar election atmosphere, rekindled his memories and he fondly remembers his “foolishness” when during the 1977 general elections he refused to give a vehicle to the office of Election Commission.
His hard work, innocence and sincerity towards his job probably saved him from the harrassment he would have invited for NDDB & himself.
Interesting life experiences ..the Malhotra way….
14. Senior Citizen Dr SCM recalls his “Once upon a time days” when he was NDDB Spearhead Team Leader at Bhatinda. His memorable two meetings with Dr GB Singh the then doyen of Dairying in Punjab!
It was at Bhatinda where farmers shared with him and his team as to why the farmers supported the NDDB Spearhead Team despite apparent lukewarm support with an undercurrent of opposition from the Government Department. Proving the oft repeated statement of Dr Kurien ” Farmers are very intelligent” !
During mid eighties Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Wing (OVOW) was allocated work space in the Diagnostic Laboratory ground floor and OVOW staff was shifted there from the main campus .
One day we were expecting Dr. Kurien’s visit to the building. We kept our tables etc. clean and neat as usual and were hoping to meet him. But when Dr Kurien arrived, he first visited the rest room and noticed water leakages. He asked the Engineering Department Head to take action against the person incharge for not being alert to stop water leakage in the building.
We have to keep our desk clean do not expect others to do it
A minute defect is also a defect.
Perfection in output is most important.
Twelve of us were recruited as ASsistant Executive / Trainee Executive in the Farmers Organisation Division for the Oilseeds project in 1983. Agreements with some states participating in the project were pending. Therefore, initiation of the project work in those states had not taken place. One day Dr. Chothani saw one of our colleagues talking loudly without work in the office disturbing others.
Dr. Chothani who was the Executive Director, Oilseeds and a Vegetable Oil Wing, immediately called our immediate boss and asked him that person who was found disturbing others be deputed to Junagadh for an indefinite period and till further instruction. After few months Dr. Chothani remembered the incidence and called back that to the headquarters at Anand.
Discipline is very important in life
I was working for Tree Growers Project and posted in Kolar, I was asked to accompany the Zilla Parishad President, (ZP CEO) an IAS officer and DFO an IFS officer from Kolar, for a meeting with Dr. Kurien, Mrs. Amrita Patel and Mr. V K Mishra to be held at Anand.
During the meeting Dr. Kurien got a call from Delhi Office for approval of Rs.50 crore of purchase of some items. He Okayed it over phone pending formal written approval. Officials from Kolar and ZP President we’re very surprised.
Speed and transparency of work
During the same period when I was with the Tree Growers Project work during 1989-1992, in Kolar some allegations were raised by vested interests and a politician on land lease to Tree Growers Cooperative Societies in Shidlaghtta Taluk.
The project work was stalled for few months. Later the then Chief Secretary realized the mistake of the State Government and the then Chief Minister Shri Bangarappa wrote a letter expressing regrets to Dr. Kurien.
Vested interests can not harm NDDB project like Government run projects as there was transparency in the work NDDB did.
I was on the Board of Dharwad and Belgaum District Milk unions during 1993 -1995. After attending the Board meeting I Boarded the KGN Bus from Hubli to Bangalore. On the way near Tumkur to Bangalore road, the bus met with an major accident and 22 people died on the spot.
On the way near Tumkur to Bangalore road, the bus met with a major accident and 22 people died on the spot.It was a miraculous escape, and second life for me as I had only some injuries. I somehow managed to reach Bangalore K C General Hospital. Once the Bangalore office came to know of my plight they helped me for all the hospitalization and care that was needed.
Caring for employees
Contributed by K Narasimha Nakshakthri NDDB 1983-1996 and Mother Dairy, Bengaluru 2002-2005
We all remember “Guest Programmes” an important activity of at the National Dairy Development Board, Anand.
Guest Programmes were designed to expose and brief the guests about the genesis, mandate, programmes and activities of the Dairy Board as well as that of Anand Pattern Milk Cooperatives.
One of the most important part of a guest programme was taking guests to show the working of a village level milk cooperative society near Anand and to explain to them the working of the milk producers cooperative. NDDB guests were usually accompanied by an officer from the Farmer’s Organisation and Animal Husbandry ( FO and AH) or from Manpower Development Group as they were considered “experts” in field activities.
After completion of the visit the concerned officer was required to brief Dr. Kurien about the visit.
The following two stories contributed by Arun Wayangankar make one smile and wonder whether such details of such questions and answers ever found a mention while briefing Dr Kurien.
NDDB Officer accompanying a guest had to answer many questions that the visitors asked. At times they faced a question answer to which he couldn’t provide quickly and took resort to a street smart answer. This ability to think in the moment and on the feet helped them in field as well. In Sanskrit such an ability may called Pratiuttapannmati (प्रतिउत्पन्नमति).
Valid answer which the accompanying officer ought to have given to the visitor but forgot is given at the end of each story.
Division of a Buffalo
My colleague and I accompanied a Sri Lankan guest to a village near Anand to observe operations of a milk producers cooperative society. As per our standard practice, my colleague explained the milk collection, payment, cattle feed distribution process and artificial insemination services etc. that a village milk producers cooperative society undertakes. He also explained in some detail the bye laws of dairy cooperatives. He said that membership of a village level milk producers cooperative society is open to all milk producers residing in the village. However, a person desirous of becoming a member of the society should possess at least one milch animal (cow or buffalo).
After the discussions, the guest wanted to visit a milk producer members home. The guest was then taken to one such house.
The guest inquired from the farmer as to how many milch animals he had. The farmer said that he had only one buffalo.
The guest further probed;
“Who is the member of the society?”
The farmer replied;
“My wife and I”
The guest then asked my colleague “You told me that a member must own at least one milch animal in order to become a member. In this household there is only one buffalo. How come both husband and wife are members of the cooperative?”
My colleague was taken aback and thought for a few moments and then came out with a “brilliantly novel” answer.
” Simple Sir, The husband owns the front portion of the buffalo and the wife the back portion”.
The guest was flabbergasted and left pondering over the answer.
Fact: A village milk producers cooperative society allows husband and wife both to become member of the society even if the family owns only one milch animal. Part of the milk supplied by the family is shown in the name of husband and the remainder in the name of his wife.
“PLAGUE” in Gujarat village
A guest from The world Bank was on a visit to Anand. I I accompanied my senior colleague on a visit to a milk producers cooperative. As usual the guest undertook a tour of the society and saw for himself how the cooperative functions at the village level.
My colleague explained the working of milk producers cooperative. We then sat in the office of the d cooperative. My colleague had a pamphlet (in English) describing progress of the village milk producers society. He explained to the guest with the statistics given in the pamphlet as to how the cooperative has improved its performance over the years. He explained that due to excellent working the cooperative membership has increased every year and so has the milk procurement and the business of the society.
The guest from World Bank studied the pamphlet and asked;
“You say that the membership has been increasing every year.”
He pointed out at the statistics given in the pamphlet and then said;
“ Look during this year membership has reduced by about 200.”
What could the reason for the decline in the membership during that year?
My colleague without batting an eye lid replied “Oh that year 200 members died”.
The World Bank officer was stunned & exclaimed “Looks like Plague struck this village”
The fact: During that particular year the membership of nominal members (who were given membership of dairy cooperative for building up Share Capital in the initial years) was discontinued
We remember his tenure as Chief Election Commissioner. However, as a man of action and great simplicity right from the beginning of his career he had a way of doing things differently which set him apart from the rest.
RK Nagar pays tributes to Mr. TN Sheshan recalling his meeting with Mr. Sheshan some time in 1978 when Mr. Sheshan was Agriculture Production Commissioner Govt of Tamilnadu.
On 10th November 2019, the news of the death of Mr. T N Sheshan brought to my mind the memory of meeting him along with Dr. Aneja in Madras (now Chennai) sometime in 1978. The context was the state plan for Operation Flood-II in Tamilnadu and we were to meet Mr. Sheshan, who was then the Agriculture Production Commissioner of the state.
I had actually no idea that I was going to meet this personality. I had said yes to Dr. Aneja, when he asked me if I was ready to join him for a meeting in Madras and I had without hesitation said, ‘yes sir’. The whole conversation on intercom was somewhat like this:
“Hi Nagar, Aneja here. I am going to Madras for a meeting. Do you want to join me”.
“Sure sir,” I replied.
“Don’t you want to know why I am going there”. “No”, I replied back.
“ Then why do you want to join me”?
“I have to buy some cane chairs for my dining table”, I gave a rather cheeky reply.
“Alright, get ready, book you tickets and see you in Madras on (date). Carry with you relevant documents. And this trip is going to be no fun, ok”. I could hear his laughter on the intercom.
“And inform me when your bookings are done”, he concluded.
Now I knew he was involving me in some serious business.
At this time, I was handling MIS and a large part of it was the rural supply and urban demand surveys. My group had just completed 3 years of survey work in 18 Operation Flood I milksheds, their urban markets and 4 metros. These surveys were conducted, in one annual and 3 seasonal rounds to capture seasonal supply demand variations so as to understand how it affects procurement across seasons with its consequent effect on milk marketing and prices. By any standards, it was a massive exercise and I was happy that our projections were closely matching the actual procurement figures in all the milksheds.
In a way, this exercise had established the credibility of our survey design, sample size and our data capturing and validation methodology. So, when Dr. Aneja asked me to carry relevant documents, I knew he was referring to a summery of Tamilnadu survey data.
When I informed him of my bookings, he asked me, “where are you staying”, “Hotel New Victoria, opposite Egmore railway station”, I replied.
“Book my room too” he said; “where, Connemara?”, I asked.
“No, in the hotel where you are staying”, came the answer.
I wondered why on earth would he want to stay in a 3 star facility which was way below his entitlement. I found the answer when we met in Madras (this trip is going to be no fun). Oh, so he had warned me well in advance.
Anyway, we reached Mr. Sheshan’s office at the appointed time. He had couple of months back received an official letter from IDC (Indian Dairy Corporation, NDDB’s sister Organization that was responsible for project funding prior to its merger with NDDB in 1987) asking the state to submit a plan for funding under OF II.
When we reached for the meeting, we were greeted by Mr. Sheshan and his team drawn from the Tamilnadu Dairy Development Corporation (TNDDC) with a pile of four bound volumes, each weighing approx 1.5 kg. These were the plan documents for four dairy development regions in which the state was divided by TNDDC. There were two sets, one each for me and Dr. Aneja.
The idea behind ‘presenting’ us with these bulky sets was to overwhelm us. The officials thought that we will carry these plans to the hotel room, spend our days and possibly nights going through them and, perhaps approve them by the end of our two days visit.
Dr Aneja and I looked at the volumes, exchanged glances (reminding ourselves of the preparation we did to receive the first FAO-WFP Mission in 1970 and saying that we are the past masters of this game) pushed them on one side. Dr. Aneja then addressed Mr Sheshan, “Sir, I am sure a lot of effort has gone in making these plans and your officers have done a wonderful job. But since we don’t have time to go through these plans here, we will have to take them to Anand for a detailed study. That would considerably delay the approval process”.
“Then what do you suggest”, asked Mr. Sheshan.
“It would be appropriate if your officers can make a presentation on each of these four plans”, Aneja replied.
Mr. Sheshan immediately agreed to the suggestion and asked the team leader to make a presentation.
Dr. Aneja and I exchanged a glance. We knew we have caught them unawares. TNDDC team was not prepared to make a presentation. When the leader hesitated, Mr. Sheshan retorted, “You are making the presentation here in my office, now”.
While the team leader was getting ready to make the presentation, Mr. Sheshan addressed Aneja, “ These plans have been worked out in great detail and if you find anything wrong in them, I will ‘chew’ my non existent hat’.
Oh boy, I had just learnt a new phrase. Mr. Sheshan was very fond of using it, and in the next 10 minutes, he must have ‘chewed’ about 15 hats. I started counting but soon lost count.
When this conversation was going on between the two, I started glancing through one of the plans. I suddenly noticed a bar chart and a table wherein seasonal milk production figures for cow and buffalo milk were given. In the documents, buffalo was referred to as “black cattle”. I found these figures strange and turned corresponding pages of the remaining three documents.
All four had similar projections. In the meantime Mr. Sheshan got busy on phone.
When Mr. Sheshan was busy on phone and the team leader with preparation for presentation, I showed the table to Dr. Aneja and pointed out that the seasonal variations shown were 1:1.3(lean:flush ratio) and to arrive at it, they had increased the quantity of milk from black cattle by adjusting the fat content at par with cow milk. So, if cow milk has 4% fat, and buffalo milk 6%, in the projections, 100 liters of buffalo milk was shown as 150 liters of “black cattle” milk. This not only inflated the total production but also gave this unrealistic lean to flush ratio. They had used it to arrive at the processing and milk drying capacity projections.
Unfortunately, what the leader forgot was that while reducing fat content, the other component of milk -SNF will also go down proportionately. And therefore his entire plan was based on highly inflated production and procurement projections.
Dr. Aneja immediately seized the opportunity to demolish the plan. He got up from his seat, extended his hand towards Mr. Sheshan and said, “Congratulations Sir, you have already achieved in TN what we think will take at least about 20 years, even in Gujarat.”
Mr. Sheshan was not expecting this. He looked shocked and confused and asked, “What is it? Gujarat is way ahead of the rest of the country in dairying and you say we have already achieved it. What are you talking about”.
Dr. Aneja calmly replied, “Sir, the lean: flush production ratio. Wonderful achievement Sir.With this, TN will have all the fresh milk it needs to market even in summer and you wouldn’t need to invest in expensive powder plants” and showed him the projections in the documents.
This must have hit Mr Sheshan very hard as the next thing we witnessed was a copy of the document flying across the room. A fuming Mr. Sheshan gave the team a thorough dressing down, mercifully in Tamil for us to not to understand what he was saying. But its effect could be seen on the faces of the entire team of TNDDC. It continued for about ten minutes. They were then given marching orders.
After the team left, a visibly upset Mr Sheshan turned to Dr. Aneja and said, “I didn’t know I am surrounded by d*****s. Please leave these documents here and depute a NDDB team to make a plan for us.
As we came out of the secretariat, Dr. Aneja looked at me and said, “Chairs- forget about them this time and get down to the business. You are making the first state plan under OF II, and it is going to be Tamilnadu”.
That’s how I ended up in planning.
Next day, when Dr Aneja was leaving for airport, I casually remarked, “I didn’t know dealing with state governments was that easy”.
He didn’t say anything, he just smiled and left for airport.
Unknowingly, I had just shot myself in the foot. But that’s for the next story.
My contribution to the Souvenir brought out on the occasion of the 75th birthday of Charutar Arogya Mandal , Chairman Dr. Amrita Patel. I will try an English translation and post the same later. The souvenir was brought out in English, Gujarati and Hindi. I chose to write in Hindi.
अगस्त या सितंबर १९६८ का हल्की बारिश वाला दिन मै आणंद रेलवे स्टेशन से ट्रेन से कंजरी के लिये निकला।
डा॰ माइकल हाल्स (माइक) नेशनल डेयरी डेवलपमेंट बोर्ड (एनडीडीबी) के संस्थापक सदस्यों मे से एक थे और कुछ माह पहले ही भारतीय प्रबंधन संस्थान अहमदाबाद से आणंद आये थे । उन्हीं के कहने से मै कंजरी स्थित पशु आहार संयंत्र की एनिमल न्यूट्रिस्ट डा॰ अम्रिता पटेल से मिलने जा रहा था।
उसी साल मई से मैने एनडीडीबी मे नौकरी शुरू की थी। अपना गाँव, फिर गोरखपुर के बाद अब आणंद का सारा माहौल एकदम नया था।
नई जगह ,नये लोग, फ़र्राटेदार अंग्रेज़ी न बोल पाने से अंग्रेजीदां लोगों से मिलने जुलने मे हिचकिचाहट से भरा, मै जब मिस पटेल से मिला तो लगा ही नही मै किसी अजनबी से मिल रहा हूँ।
कैटलफीड संयंत्र का संचालन,प्रबंधन, फ़ीड फारमुलेशन मे विभिन्न पदार्थों के मिश्रण की प्रक्रिया , गुणवत्ता आदि विषयों पर चर्चा मे समय कैसे बीता पता न चला। दोपहर खाने का समय हो गया था । मिस पटेल ने कहा खाना खा कर जाओ जब तक मै कुछ कहूँ उन्होने घर से लाया टिफ़िन खोला, दो मे से एक रोटी और पालक के सालन का कुछ भाग एक प्लेट मे रख मुझे दे दिया !
१९६८ के आषाढ़ के उस दिन मिस पटेल से पहली बार मिलने पर उनके व्यवहार मे घुली सहज मानवता और स्नेहिल आतिथ्य की आकर्षक विशिष्टता मानस पटल पर बार बार कौंध जाती है।
एनडीडीबी मे उनके साथ काम करने और नज़दीक से जानने का मौक़ा मिला। १९७४ मे डा॰ कुरियन के एक्ज़ीक्यूटिव असिस्टेंट और १९८७ मे मानव संसाधन प्रभाग मे निदेशक पद पर मेरी पर हुई नियुक्तियों मे मिस पटेल ने अहम भूमिका निभाई ।
१९७४ मे एक दिन अचानक फोन आया।
“तुम्हारा नाम प्रस्तावित किया है मैने डा॰ कुरियन के एक्ज़ीक्यूटिव असिस्टेंट पद के लिये”
ज्यादा टिकता नही है कोई उनके साथ इस पद पर”
मिस पटेल कह रही थीं।
मै भौंचक रह गया । बहुत ना नुकुड की।
अंत मे मैने कहा “अंग्रेजी अब बोल तो लेता हूं पर अच्छी अंग्रेजी लिखने मे दिक्कत होती है” ।
मिस पटेल नही मानी बोली;
” जा कर डाक्टर कुरियन से मिल लो वही निर्णय लेंगे”
कुछ मिनटो मे डा॰ कुरियन का फोन आ गया। दोपहर बाद जा कर मिला उनसे मिला ।ना नुकुड की कोशिश यहां भी नाकाम रही।
वह अपनी ही बोलते रहे, क्या करना होगा, किस तरह गोपनीयता सुरक्षित रखना ज़रूरी होगा, यह काम २४ घंटे का है, आदि। अंत मे हिम्मत कर मैने कहा;
अब आगे कुछ बोलना बेकार था। सोचता हूं मिस पटेल का यह कहना कि “ज्यादा टिकता नही है उनके साथ कोई इस पद पर” शायद बहुत गहरी सोच का परिणाम रहा होगा।
आखिर मैने डा॰ कुरियन के एक्ज़ीक्यूटिव असिस्टेंट और बाद मे डायरेक्ट (चेयरमैन’स आफिस) के पदो पर बहुत दिनो तक लगभग १९७४ से १९९८ तक जुडा रहा। एनडीडीबी में कुल ३२ साल १९६८ से २००० तक !
कैसे मालूम था मिस पटेल आपको कि मै इतने दिन टिका रहूंगा !
मानव संसाधन प्रभाग के निदेशक पर मेरी नियुक्ति तो मिस पटेल का लगभग एक तरफा निर्णय था । मै तिलहन और वानस्पितिक तैल विभाग का निदेशक था पर मिस पटेल की योजना थी कि री- आरगेनाइजेशन बाद मानव संसाधन विभाग बनाया जाय। इस बार भी इफ बट की बातें उठी पर सब दरकिनार करते हुये मिस पटेल ने यह निर्णय लिया। मुझे इस काम मे सफलता मिली या न मिली पर मिस पटेल से सहयोग पूरा मिला ।
वैसे एनडीडीबी मे मिस पटेल के साथ काम करने का मौक़ा पहली बार मुझे मिला जब मै लगभग एक महीना १९७४ मे बतौर एनडीडीबी कर्मचारियों के दल के सदस्य के साथ इंटरनेशनल डेयरी कांग्रेस, नई दिल्ली के आयोजन मे सहायता के लिये भेजा गया था।
एक विकासशील देश पहली बार मे हो रहा यह आयोजन इतिहास तो रच ही रहा था पर एक भारतीय महिला का सेक्रेटरी जनरल होना भी हम सब के लिये गौरव का विषय था।मिस पटेल की कार्य संपादन क्षमता विशेषकर योजनाबद्ध सिलसिलेवार काम कैसे पूरा हो, कौन क्या करे,समय से कौन सा कार्य निष्पादित हुआ या न हुआ पर समय समय से सामूहिक चर्चा वाली कार्यशैली नज़दीक से देखी।
जब एचएम पटेल साहब की तबीयत ख़राब हुई और अहमदाबाद अस्पताल मे उन्हे भरती करा दिया गया था तब डा॰ कुरियन ने कहा कि मिस पटेल अकेली अहमदाबाद नही जायेंगी और मुझे साथ जाने को कहा । मै लगभग पाँच दिन उनके साथ रहा।
एचएम साहब को अस्पताल मे आ कर देखने वालों का तांता तो लगा ही रहता था। पर जब समाचार आया कि एचएम साहब के विरोधी राजनीतिज्ञ “दिखावे” की हमदर्दी दिखाने का ढोंग रच ताम झाम सहित फूलों का गुच्छा ले कर आ रहे हैं और मिस पटेल को वहाँ उनके स्वागतार्थ खड़ा होना पड़ेगा तब वहाँ मिस पटेल का दूसरा रूप देखने को मिला।
गहरी आंतरिक पीड़ा थी, क्षोभ था, पर पिता के पास रहना था सभ्यता का तक़ाज़ा। अस्पताल के कई चक्कर लगाये थे मैने मिस पटेल के साथ साथ। मुश्किल से मानी थी लौटने को पिता के पास।
यह विडंबना ही है मानवी त्रासदी।
पिता के देहावसान पर अंत्येष्टि की पूरी तैयारी और हमारे समाज मे पुत्र से जो अपेक्षा होती है उसे पुत्री ने उसे भलीभाँति निभाया । फिर शुरू हुई चरोतर आरोग्य मंडल और अस्पताल का कार्यभार संभालने की क़वायद जो पिता की धरोहर ही नही पर मिस पटेल की सोच से जुड़ी प्राथमिकताओं – पर्यावरण एवं स्वास्थ्य से जुड़ी हैं । मैने नज़दीक से देखा है जाना है इन विषयों मे मिस पटेल कितना रुचि रखती है ।
मुझे याद आता है मिस पटेल की वह बात जो वह हर महिला अफ़सर की नियुक्ति के पहले उनसे साक्षात्कार के वक़्त होती थी । औपचारिकताओं और कुछ अन्य प्रश्नों के बाद साक्षात्कार के अंत मे मिस पटेल हर एक से पूछती थी;
“अगर यह नौकरी तुम्हें मिलती है तो कितने साल काम करोगी?”
“पुरुष प्रधान समाज मे महिलाओं को सोच विचार कर प्रोफ़ेशनल ज़िंदगी मे आना चाहिये । बराबरी के साथ काम करना होगा क्योंकि महिला किसी भी तरह कार्यपालन मे पुरुष से कम नही”
“देखो शादी करना, घर चलाना, बच्चों को पालना, संस्कार देना उतना ही महत्वपूर्ण कार्य है जितना किसी संस्था मे काम करना उसका संचालन करना। कुछ को प्रोफ़ेसन और घर दोनो चलाना होता है वहीं बैलेंस की बात आती है।”
“शैलेन्द्र तुमसे ऐसा नही कह सकते है पर मै कह रही हूँ
मैने निर्णय लिया कि सारा जीवन प्रोफ़ेसन को दूँगी और कर भी रही हूँ इसलिये साफ़ साफ़ बताओ कि अभी कितने साल काम करने का इरादा है? पर जितने साल कहो उतने ज़रूर करना।”
कितनी कठिन राह चुनी आपने मिस पटेल और चुनी डगर पर चलती रहीं इतने सालों तक।प्रोफ़ेशनल और पर्सनल ज़िंदगी का बैलेंस हमेशा रखा।
कुछ पारिवारिक ज़रूरतों और कुछ अन्य कारणवश मैने २००० मे एनडीडीबी से प्रीमैच्योर रिटायरमेंट लिया। पर मुझे हर्ष एवं संतोष इस बात का है कि मुझे मिस पटेल के साथ काम करने का मौक़ा मिला । कसौटी पर खरा उतरा या नही राम जाने पर मुझे और किरन को भी एचएम परिवार के बहुत से सदस्यों को जानने का मौक़ा मिला । यह नाता अब तक क़ायम है चाहे हम कितनी भी दूर हों ।
आपकी पचहत्तरवीं वर्षगाँठ पर किरन और मेरी तरफ़ से ढेरों शुभकामनायें ! एक बार फिर आपको आपकी मानवता को नमन,
RK Nagar pays tributes to his Guru …Dr Michael Halse…It is a long piece but worth a read particularly for those who wish to know more about the unsung heroes who under Dr Kurien’s leadership made the “White Revolution “ a reality in India.
Mike was a born Englishman but as many of us would say he was more Indian than many Indians. He will be known for his strategic inputs for development of dairying in the cooperative sector and employment generation in India. He was a great man and should remain so – untarnished by the prejudices of others, which is so common in India in particular.
Dr Michael Halse — or Mike as I knew him — was not only a wonderful, kind-hearted soul but also a great teacher. We worked together in NDDB during a period that is now but a memory. All my real learning, post university degrees, was with him.
I first met Mike on 8th July 1969 at the NDDB office in Anand. He was then not only the FAO advisor, but also a member of the Board of NDDB — and incidentally, probably one of the only foreign nationals, if not the only one, ever to be on the ‘Board’ of an institution formed by the Government of India. He was also the head of the Management & Manpower Development division (MMD) — one of NDDB’s two service-providing divisions (the other one was Engineering).
NDDB was then in its formative years and Mike was in the process of building a core team of professionals to lead various functions as the organisation grew. He, therefore, had the responsibility to pick the key start-up staff. It was in this context that I first met him when I was interviewed by him and three others (all Indians) for the position of ‘Apprentice Executive- Economics’. I was pitted against three gold medalists from well-known universities, whereas my academic credentials were just ordinary.
During the interview process I had a heated argument with Mike on the utilisation of PL-480 food aid funds. I thought he was an American who was trying to justify use of funds generated through sale of PL-480 food aid on unproductive research, and was trying to throw out of the window my argument that the funds generated should be deployed to produce more food within India. The interview ended with my, somewhat arrogant and bitter remark: “Sir, you are free to keep your views, I will keep mine”. I could see Mike turning red in the face, I presumed out of anger.
No one, especially an Indian interviewer, would have hired me for this kind of an arrogant and uncivilised behavior. But to my utter surprise, he picked me over others. I was taken aback when my name was announced as the selected candidate, especially because after the written test that had preceded the interview, I had, in my own judgment performed very poorly.
Mike never held my uncivilised behavior against me but even praised my performance in the interview a couple of weeks after I joined. I instantly knew I had come to the right person to learn what university education had not taught me.
I later came to know that using food aid as an investment to produce more milk in India was the project Mike was working on. This project later came to be known as “Operation Flood”. I did not know at the time of the job interview that my answer, though delivered in the most uncharitable and arrogant fashion, was bang on. I believe that more than the right answer, it was my conviction and Mike’s magnanimity behind my selection.
My learning begins: Baroda project
(Supply model: My learning begins): Mike told me that he was attaching me to a consultancy project that NDDB was currently doing for Baroda dairy and that I should ‘help’ with the supply analysis. Thinking that I had only to assist someone, I thought the pressure was off my head. I was wrong. By “assisting”, what Mike meant was that I had to not only analyse rural survey data already collected from rural Baroda but also make sense out of it and then develop a milk procurement and production enhancement model by integrating into it a production enhancement inputs delivery system.
For me this was a tall order as I had never done something like this before. So, when I told Mike that I would need some expert guidance on it, he came back to me with a very cool answer, “RK, you have university degrees in Agriculture, Dairy Science and Agricultural Economics. You are the only one with this comprehensive subject knowledge here — you are the expert. I don’t know who else in NDDB can guide you?” With this Mike initiated the process of teaching me how to put academic learning into practice.
My learning, in the true sense of the word, had begun. Fortunately, after a lot of hard work, I could develop a satisfactory model. But I came to know about Mike’s satisfaction with my work only when he used the model as a case study in a teaching session in IIM, Ahmedabad where he was a guest lecturer. In the classroom Mike credited me, by name, and fortunately for me two of my classmates from Agriculture College who were in that batch brought this news to me with the rather funny remark: “Now are we to study through case studies written by you?”
I believe it is still rare for a senior academician or officer to openly acknowledge someone’s work especially if he happens to be a beginner and a nobody.
(Lesson in human resource management; concept of state grid and feeder, feeder-balancing)
By the time I had finished working on the Baroda supply model, I had been in NDDB for barely six weeks. At this point I was suddenly asked to proceed to Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, where Mike was to undertake a consultancy project to study the working of Jaipur Dairy and evolve a plan for its economic viability.
The Jaipur Milk Scheme (JMS), a Government of Rajasthan enterprise, was managed by two senior Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) officers. With a handling capacity of 25,000 litres per day, JMS was losing money and the government was not able to figure out how to get the unit out of the red.
In the very first meeting with the General Manager and Deputy General Manager — RAS officers — Mike introduced me as follows: “Meet my colleague R K Nagar. He is NDDB’s Economist”. He indirectly signaled to me to not use my official designation while I was in Jaipur in any meeting with any official of the JMS. I followed Mike’s unspoken advice.
Mike gave me my first and very important lesson in HR management — “if you respect your colleagues and treat them as equals on the team, others will respect them too”.
I never forgot this lesson. In fact this single most important teaching of Mike in my start up days in NDDB helped me throughout my career to earn full and unqualified cooperation and support of my colleagues, from the time I began to head teams in 1974 through my leaving in January 1999. I attribute my success in various senior positions from 1982 onwards, where I was leading multi-disciplinary teams of highly qualified and experienced professionals, to this particular lesson in HRM.
Doing a little more:
Mike always believed in ‘doing a little more for the client then what was asked for’ for a simple reason: winning the confidence of the client. It was also a good marketing strategy.
In a study on the Jaipur Milk Scheme (JMS), ‘doing a little more’ meant doing something that was unthinkable even for the JMS and state government officials. Mike suggested that we create a grid of state dairies (all except JMS were non-existent) and link them together as ‘feeder/feeder-balancing dairies’.
The concept itself was simple. A feeder dairy was one whose milk procurement exceeds its marketing requirement for most parts of the year and therefore, rather than refusing to accept milk, it would transfer the surplus to the dairy that needed it to meet its marketing requirements. A feeder-balancing dairy was one that had milk drying facilities so that in the flush season it would convert all the surplus milk into milk powder and butter and conserve them for recombination into liquid milk during the lean season. All these dairies were to focus on a simple product mix of fluid milk (two to three varieties) to suit the purchasing power of various market segments.
I am convinced that, prompted by this particular recommendation, the Government of Rajasthan approached the World Bank to finance a dairy development project for the state as under Operation Flood phase I only one milkshed — Bikaner (being an existing hinterland milkshed of Delhi) was included. Eventually three states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka — obtained World Bank finance to develop dairying on the Amul model and later all three became part of the second phase of Operation Flood.
Bangalore Project:Two Axis Pricing
Most milksheds in India have a fairly good proportion of both cows and buffaloes and therefore procurement of milk of both the species is important. Moreover in milksheds where there is higher proportion of cows, say near two-third of all milch animals, the seasonal supply variations are not very severe.
Although I was not a part of the field team for this project, Mike involved me with an analysis that can be rightly termed as the genesis of the ‘two-axis pricing system’ in India that revolutionized primary dairy cooperative organization and milk procurement.
Prior to introduction of two-axis pricing, dairies bought milk from producers either on the basis of fat content or on a volume basis. Milk testing was followed mainly by dairies in Gujarat which bought milk on fat basis. Fat based buying discouraged cow milk production whereas purchase on a volume basis encouraged adulteration of buffalo milk with water or skimming of excess fat.
To overcome this problem, the Bangalore dairy introduced a purchase formula that was intended to encourage cow milk production through a premium price. This was the undoing of its procurement operation which was through a network of contractors.
What actually happened was that at a particular fat content, cow milk commanded a higher price than buffalo milk. As a result contractors started adulterating buffalo milk or skimmed excess fat and adjusted it to a level where it would pass off as cow milk and earn a premium. The formula had boomeranged and the Bangalore dairy was losing heavily.
In response to this problem, Mike offered a brilliant proposition — why not base buying milk on both the fat and non-fat-solids (SNF) content. Since variation in SNF content of cow and buffalo milk was only marginal — barely 0.5 per cent, bringing in SNF in price calculation would greatly reduce the disparity. If such a formula was evolved and if we were able to find a way to implement it by economically testing milk for both fat and SNF content, a major challenge in developing a reliable supply chain would get addressed.
The elaborate exercise (in which mike involved me) that followed thereafter was to find a ratio that reflected the ways in which the consumer market individually valued fat and SNF and to apply it in a formula for milk procurement. It worked and in years to follow became the basic principle of milk procurement pricing under OF.
In fact this one single discovery solved a seemingly unsolvable problem of creating price parity between cow and buffalo milk and has resulted in setting in stone the growth cycle in milk production in India. It also set in motion research to find accurate and economical ways to test milk for its Fat and SNF content in villages. This is how the first indigenous electronic milk analyser was developed jointly by the NDDB and Rajasthan Electronics Corporation, following which electronic milk testing came to India in a big way for testing milk at the society level. Today, there are hundreds of companies supplying a wide range of economical indigenous milk analysers, but few know who and what was behind it. Two axis pricing and electronic milk testing together can be said to have stimulated the demand for milk production enhancement inputs and triggered a growth pattern unprecedented in the history of Indian dairying.
Madras Milk Market study: Before I joined Mike, he had guided two other consultancies. One of these was the Madras (now Chennai) Milk Market study. One of the most significant findings of this study, which later became a very important part of the marketing strategy in the metros cities under OF, was that the poorest paid the highest price for milk although apparently it seemed otherwise. In other words, for the price the poor were paying they bought the most expensive milk solids thanks to rampant dilution with water. For them milk was only a white liquid to whiten their coffee.
Barauni Dairy operations study: A study, carried out in Barauni in Bihar state, highlighted the importance of branding and promotion. This was the first study where a new brand name —Sudha — was suggested and ever since it has been the brand name of all dairy products marketed by the Bihar State Cooperative Dairy Federation.
Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation (GAIC) Cattle feed plants: The GAIC, a Government of Gujarat enterprise, wanted to build three cattle feed manufacturing plants — one each in Mehsana, Surat and Rajkot — similar to the one owned and operated by AMUL near Anand. Each of these plants was to manufacture 100 tonnes of compounded cattle feed concentrate every day for marketing within the district. These were the first three turnkey projects that were to be implemented by NDDB.
At this point NDDB did not have its own pool of experienced engineers to plan and execute projects on turnkey basis. The cattle feed plant projects were, therefore, executed under the guidance of Mr. V H Shah and his team of engineers from Amul. Mr. Shah was on the NDDB Board and was responsible for building NDDB’s engineering capabilities in much the same way as Mike was doing with Management and Manpower Development. NDDB recruited fresh engineering graduates as trainees and placed them as site engineers as understudy to Shah’s team.
Mike knew that unless operating systems and key managers were in position well before the factories were to be commissioned, there wouldbe serious problems that could jeopardise NDDB’s chances of getting future turnkey projects. Therefore, as a part of the overall consultancy, he recruited a core team of trainees for each of the three projects. Each team consisted of four persons — one each from the functional areas of purchase (for raw material purchase), animal nutrition (for raw material analysis and feed formulation), finance and marketing. They were all fresh university graduates taken on as trainees.
Mike’s idea of recruiting the marketing guys well ahead of commissioning the plant was to start a seeding programme and create a demand for the feed so that when the plant was commissioned it would begin to operate at least at the break-even capacity. At the same time he helped Amul utilise their recently expanded capacity where they manufactured feed and packed it in the brand name of the three client organisations. The feed marketed under the seeding programme enabled the Gujarat Agro Industries plants to firmly establish their respective brand names. Mike also knew that eventually NDDB would succeed in getting these plants transferred to the cooperative unions of the respective districts and therefore selected brand names that closely aligned with the brand name of the cooperatives. This was indeed a clever forward thinking.
A close look at Mikes approach to all these studies and project indicates that, through these consultancies Mike was in fact evolving operating principles that were to later became key strategy elements in implementing OF and in the process training us in strategic planning. The strategy came in full view when he introduced the concept of composite spearhead teams under OF-II.
OF Proposal and FAO-WFP Mission Visit Preparation
1969 was the year when NDDB was developing a project to fulfill its mandate of ‘replicating ‘Anand’ in other parts of India. An ‘Anand’ meant creating an institutional structure — a farmers’ cooperative led by an elected board and managed by professional managers — that owned and operated the infrastructure to procure, process and market milk produced by its members. The cooperative also provides its members with a package of technical inputs to increase members’ dairy animal productivity. In other words, under the cooperative umbrella, all the four functions — production, procurement, processing, marketing — are integrated.
Replication of Anands meant massive investments, simultaneously in infrastructure, systems and institution building.
To find funds, Mike evolved a project titled “Milk Marketing in the four metro cities and linking them to their hinterland milksheds”. The project was based on a thorough study of the Amul Dairy in Anand and its linkages with the Bombay (now Mumbai) milk market as well as its linkage with the neighboring Baroda (now Vadodara) dairy, where the concepts of feeder/balancing were in operation. Mike carried out these studies when he was still the Ford Foundation representative with the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA).
Mike, beautifully translated Dr. V Kurien’s vision and evolved the above mentioned project that later became globally known as “Operation Flood”. The core idea was to obtain food aid — milk powder and butter oil — from the European community and generate rupee funds for investment to create the cooperative dairy sector in India. The EEC was finding it difficult to deal with massive surpluses of milk powder and butter oil and was willing to dump these as gifts to developing nations, especially India where milk forms the main source of protein for a predominantly vegetarian population.
Dr Kurien and Mike sensed the danger that if the EEC succeeded in convincing the Government of India to accept the surplus as a free gift and in turn give it free to urban consumers in major cities, it would spell the doom for the cooperative sector and would kill small scale milk production in rural India. This would, in turn, deprive millions of small rural producers of the milk income that sustained them, and would push them further down into poverty. There was little time and NDDB had to act quickly with a proposal that would save rural milk producers from the catastrophe looming on the horizon.
The proposal, “Milk Marketing in the four metro cities and linking them to their hinterland milksheds”, was the direct outcome of Dr Kurien and Mike’s brainstorming. Only two of them were involved. For them, as Dr Kurien later said “converting a threat into an opportunity” was of paramount importance. And they succeeded in this as the Government of India formally moved a proposal to obtain food aid of milk powder and butter oil from the EEC through the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The project aimed at linking 57 of India’s most promising milksheds spread over 10 states with the dairies of the four metros — Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.
I think no one other than Dr Kurien and Mike had much of an idea as to what was going on. I sometimes wonder if they themselves were at all sure of a positive response from the EEC. Therefore, there was hardly any visible activity in NDDB that would indicate that the project proposal was on the way to approval. Then suddenly there was the formal information from the Government of India that FAO was sending a joint FAO-WFP mission to NDDB’s headquarters in Anand for a field visit to consider the proposal. Some tentative dates for the mission’s visit were indicated and we all thought we would have enough time to prepare for the forthcoming visit.
We were wrong. The mission not only preponed the visit but also asked for massive data (that we did not have) and other supporting documents. They wanted to make sure that the project was indeed workable as even FAO had seen this kind of a proposal — using food aid as investment for increasing local food production — for the first time. On our part we had to ensure that there were enough ‘attractives’ for the mission to agree to the proposal. The mission gave us only two days to keep all the supporting documentation ready.
But Mike was a genius. He was calm and cool as a cucumber. I am sure he was well prepared for this sudden assault and had enough ammunition in his armor. He knew that we simply could not let go of this opportunity.
On Mike’s team, we were a handful — barely ten to twelve people. Mike collected us all and set us to work on the tasks to keep all that was needed ready for the mission’s visit. His strategy was to overwhelm the team with reading material, so much of it that they would have no choice but to listen to what we said and read what we provided at leisure when they were back in Rome.
Excepting the Madras Milk Market study and the Barauni report, all the other consultancy reports were in the early draft stage. Mike then planned to complete other reports like Jaipur, Bangalore etc as the first draft. He wanted them to look as good as the final draft, so he himself got on with writing them. But in order not to make us feel small, he gave us the responsibility to work on the first draft. To complete the task, he divided us into three teams.
The first team was to write the draft report and as they completed a section of the report, it was to be promptly handed to him for ‘editing’. The second team was to take the ‘edited text’ and have it stenciled (the only technology available to us in those days), check the stencil and make corrections where needed, and the third team was to have it polycopied and arrange it in right order. Over the next 48 hours, some eight reports were written and polycopied. Mike had simultaneously written the main project document titled “Operation Flood I” and edited “Operation Flood II” the statistical document to support “OF I”.
Early the next morning Mike took the arranged sets of all the reports with him to Ahmedabad and dropped them off for binding on the way to airport where he was to receive the FAO-WFP team. On his way back, he collected the bound reports and carried them with him. While he dropped the team at the Amul guest house for breakfast, the bound volumes of the reports were brought to the office for us to make into sets for each member of the team. As soon as they were finished we sent them back to Mike in the guest house before the team finished the breakfast. The strategy was to ‘attack’ the team with the ‘reading material’ before they came to the meeting about half an hour after breakfast.
Mike added three more documents to this pack of NDDB reports to emphasise the importance of the project. They were: two research papers Mike had done while he was with IIM Ahmedabad — titled ‘Agco 1’ and ‘Agco 2’ — and the proceedings of the seminar of the Protein Food Association of India. These proceedings, published under the title of ‘Protein Emergency’, highlighted the need to urgently augment both calories and protein in Indian diet as the limited intake of calories was causing the dietary protein to be used to provide energy. The Agco papers had dealt with the current situation in Indian agriculture and the delicate interrelationship of the Indian farm and dairy sub-sectors. The argument, as I recollect it, was that the development of agriculture, especially the food sector (that also provides the bulk of feed resources — as crop residues — for the livestock sector) was vital for the growth of the livestock, especially the small scale dairy sector.
Mike then explained to the FAO-WFP team in great detail the concept of the project, the key elements of the operating strategy and that the basis of the evolved project was grounded in a number of studies where the concepts had been successfully tested.
The FAO-WFP mission was so mesmerised with the presentation, its visit to Amul dairy and to the village societies that it could not find any reason to disapprove the project. The mission however cleared the project with a rider. Having found that the database was not strong enough to support the projections, the mission desired that detailed supply studies be carried out in 57 hinterland milksheds and detailed demand studies in the four metros to determine if the processing capacity that we planned to build in both the milksheds and in the metros were justified. They also wanted to know if the number of primary village cooperatives that were projected to be organised over seven years was feasible and that the cooperatives would be viable.
All of this was to be done in the next 12 months after which the FAO-WFP planned to send another review mission to recommend continuation or otherwise of the project.
The first mission’s visit was an amazing experience for the entire group. What an extraordinary show of organizing and leadership skills it was and on the top of it, Mike did not show any sign of fatigue and irritation any time. It seemed that his energy level had quadrupled in this situation of urgency.
In the process, he taught us that however small or insignificant a project may appear, it does have a place in larger scheme of things. And we must meaningfully use every learning experience.
Operation Flood document
The visiting mission was presented with two documents titled Operation Flood-I and II respectively. Whereas OF II document contained all the statistics — to the extent they were available to justify the project — the OF I document contained the project details as to how the funds generated from the sale of donated commodities would be used. This was the most clever piece of Mike’s work. No one in the MMD was even remotely aware of what was being done until it appeared for production as typed version. The funny part is that much of it was produced on the night when we were all busy reproducing copies of the consultancy reports. The OF I document was in fact done in between editing of these half-a- dozen consultancy reports. And that made the achievement all the more spectacular.
The entire investment was divided into 10 action items that were again grouped in three categories: investments for the cooperatives, investments common for all the cooperatives and central investments with NDDB. He not only clearly specified what these action items meant and how they were to be implemented, Mike made a clever fund allocation for each action item to indicate how the funds generated would be fully utilised over a seven-year project period. His genius lay in the fact that there were no parameters that could be considered reliable enough to make these projections. Yet when the project implementation began, most of these parameters were very close to real parameters.
Was it a sheer coincidence or his sharp observations during those seemingly insignificant consultancy projects that enabled him to develop parameters close to real ones? The lesson for me was to be ever watchful, observe closely if planning has to be made meaningful.
Building Database for Planning: Forward Planning for OF II and III
Since we had only one year at our disposal and that we were still a handful, doing detailed market study of the four metros and milk supply potential studies in 57 milksheds was a tall order. The responsibility for these studies fell on four of us — Shailendra Kumar and Nandi Naithani, both statisticians; PV Mathew, the marketing expert; and me the economist with qualifications in dairying and agriculture. Whereas Mathew was to define deliverables from the demand study, I was to do it for the supply study. Shailendra and Nandi were to work on the survey design. We outsourced the services of a senior statistician — Mani from Operations Research Group (ORG), Baroda — to help us with data analysis as we had planned to use ORG’s computer centre for data analysis (ORG was a company of a well-known industrial house, Sarabhai, with whom Mike had excellent personal relations). When it came to actual field work though, much of the responsibility fell on Shailendra, Nandi Naithani and me.
It was a marathon exercise. Field work for data collection lasted a full ten months. The three of us collectively did field work in the northern region (Delhi metro and its hinterland milksheds). Then each one of us got one region each to independently organize and manage the field work. I got the South, Shailendra the West and Nandi the East. The ‘Rural Household Survey’ (RHS) and ‘Urban Household Survey’ (UHS) were collectively termed as the “MIS series”.
During this process, thanks to Mike’s continued guidance, we developed our expertise in survey design and field team management to such an extent that when the GOI initiated Small and Marginal farmers’ centric development projects- it chose to depute its senior officers to train with us in Anand.
Operation Flood implementation officially began in 1971. Much of 1972-73 was spent on working on acquiring the computer and finalizing requirements for systems development. OF had still not gathered momentum and there were considerable difficulties especially in developing the milk procurement side. Many new issues were emerging — from quality assessment to adulteration to producers’ loyalty shifting during the lean season and so on.
The onetime data gathered from the milksheds in 1971 was not adequate to do any meaningful long term planning for procurement operation. Mike especially felt that unless we captured milkshed-wise seasonal variation in production, retention by the producer household and marketable surplus on a continuous basis for three to four years, we would not have a credible basis to develop the National Milk Grid, as seasonal variation in supply and demand was crucial for its management.
This meant that we had to redesign the entire survey, prepare new and more elaborate investigator training manuals (making sure that no question is open to multiple interpretations by the investigator), rework the analysis methodology and rewrite the computer programmes.
The survey program was then extended for 3 years (termed CIS) to capture seasonal variations in supply and demand in all OF I milksheds and 4 metros. At the same time there were demands for surveys to be carried out in Rajasthan, MP and Karnataka, 3 states covered under World Bank assisted dairy development programs and scores of independent feasibility studies from other states. Perhaps unintentionally, a strong database was getting created for planning OFII.
Computer for NDDB
While Mike guided us on completion of the rural household surveys in 57 districts and urban demand surveys in four metros, he had already identified other work that must logically follow. Since the data processing for these large scale surveys was done at ORG, Baroda at a considerable cost, Mike felt that it was time that NDDB had its own computer centre since MIS and monitoring functions were going to be very important during the project implementation phase and timely analysis of data was going to be vital for the success of the project.
Mike started toying with the idea of NDDB having its own computer centre well before OF was formally approved by the FAO. I think it was in early 1970. One fine day an American expert landed in the office with the brief to assess computerisation needs of NDDB and recommend a configuration. He spent a good two weeks in Anand, and since no one in NDDB at that time had any idea of the volume of data that we would handle under the project, the expert recommended a HP table top calculator with some memory.
It was a disappointing beginning. But Mike had other ideas. He waited for the FAO to formally approve the project and then roped in the British government to agree to gift a computer to NDDB. In between in early 1972 there was an expert — Wally Saunders from a British consulting firm (Urwick, Lugg and Gould consulting in agriculture and agri-business) — who suggested that it would be best to develop in-house expertise in systems analysis-systems design and put this team to work with experts to assess the actual computerisation needs.
Mike convinced Dr Kurien to send two officers from MMD to UK for a three-month customised training in Systems Analysis/Design with ICL, UK and, in Computer Applications in Agriculture with ULG and arranged a FAO fellowship for Shailendra Kumar and me. Following this training we were to coordinate with the experts deputed by the donor agency — British ODA in this case.
Following our return from the UK, and following an elaborate year-long exercise, the British government gifted to NDDB an ICL 1904 series computer. At the time, this configuration was one of the most powerful in India and certainly in Gujarat. With the arrival of this computer, the culture of computerisation of dairy sector data took birth in India.
There are many other notables in Mike’s contribution. For example, a direct outcome of the demand studies was the urgent need for research in developing automated processes for hygienically manufacturing indigenous dairy products (milk sweets) by cooperatives since, after fluid milk and Ghee, milk sweets formed the third largest group in terms of value, far ahead of butter and milk powder (including baby food); setting up of IRMA to meet in the growing need of managers to professionally manage rural enterprises; the project he did for the Tribhuvandas Foundation to take cooperative dairies beyond collecting and processing milk and touch other aspects of rural life (women’s health, child nutrition, income generating activities for village women, use of common village property for income generation and its use for common village services etc.) for all round welfare of the members of the cooperatives; the vegetable oil project that he viewed as a vital link with Operation Flood to secure growing needs of animal nutrition; fruit and vegetables, Electricity cooperatives, cotton cooperatives etc. since he rightly believed that the guiding principles that empower the rural poor remain the same while the strategies and operating systems can be specific according to the nature of the commodity/service. And by involving us in these projects, He taught us how to paint a broader canvas.
Through all of this work, Mike challenged us to take on tasks that seemed impossible, encouraged and guided us, and in the end gave us all the credit. In doing so, he taught us lessons we have never forgotten and left us with a debt to him that we never repay.
Mike was a great thinker, extremely passionate about his work and maintained a low profile. His approach was clear, unambiguous and aimed at empowering the rural poor. Given the foundation that had been created under operation flood- the pool of trained manpower in NDDB, he shared Dr. Kurien’s vision that NDDB must work in other sub sectors of the rural economy and transform the rural scene. I had the good fortune to learn a lot more about these ‘other’ non-dairy projects during long post dinner brain storming sessions when I was with him for nearly 2 months in Pakistan and Washington DC as a member of the World Bank’s Pakistan Dairy Sector Review project team led by Dr. Kurien himself.
Everyone knew that he and Dr. Kurien had a great bond. They shared a common vision; both had a mission- to raise the level of the rural poor for they both believed that the true sign of development of a society is development of its rural population.
Truly speaking, Dr. Kurien was the architect of India’s white revolution and Mike was his structural engineer’ who gave the architect’s vision the right expression. That in my eyes, for me was Mike, my Guru with whom learning was such an enriching experience.
I write this on the morning of Christmas Day of 2019 from Toronto. My 6 year old granddaughter gave me a beautiful card with a message that she wrote for me.
Unlike her I wrote to my great grand father but since he didn’t know how to read or write I wrote to my grand father in Hindi. It had a lot of spelling mistakes. I still have that letter somewhere because my grandfather corrected my spelling errors and my letter was sen5 back to me by post. It was exciting to get a letter by post that too from my grand father.
That was 1952 or may be 1953.
In 2019 my grand daughter writes to me in English. I wrote from Nanpara in Hindi and she writes from Toronto in English
How times have changed ! My first visit to Canada was in 1980. That was an official trip. I visited Canada several times thereafter but never had an idea of living here. I now spend 5-6 months each year in Canada.
In 1987, NDDB sponsored my dear colleague ( Late) Dr SP Mittal and me for a three month long Training Programme to Canada and USA. We attended workshops and seminars on Human Resource Development staying in various cities and traveling from east to west coast a couple of times. However, we spent a larger part of our time in Victoria, BC. This was a long trip and we greatly missed Indian Food. Dr. Mittal and I both liked to cook. Rob and Carol Nelson who were our hosts in Victoria, graciously allowed us to use their kitchen. But getting groceries was a difficult task.
Toronto was different though. We went to restaurants serving Indian Food but it was costly. We liked Chinese food as it was always served in more than adequate quantities and also at prices much less than the food served in Indian restaurants.
That was then.
Yesterday I went to an Indian store, “Panchvati” some 15 kilometres from our place. What a store! Everything I could think of is available.
The famous Parle G biscuit was on the shelf. Yes Pale G, how can we forget ..The Company was to lay off 10000 workers in August last.
To dip Parle G in hot tea and eat and then sip tea… was a luxury to be indulged in when I was growing up.
I am glad that Parle continues to survive and export too.
Shri Anirudh Singh after reading this post has the following to say in the comments column “Sir, it is really very pleasant, when someone brought us back towards our childhood and particularly by our dear one. The style and manner in which you expressed this was really great. One thing I also want to bring in your kind notice and humbly to correct you that the news propagating that ParleAgro layed off her 10,000 worker was baseless and there was no tinge of truth in this falsely painted story. Presently I am working with Parle Group. Regards”
So much for truthfulness of main stream media !
I also found Dhara the NDDB owned brand of edible oil on one shelf at Panchvati.
I was Director Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Wing in 1987 before NDDB became a body corporate under an act of Parliament.
NDDB launched Dhara after I moved from Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil wing to the newly created Human Resource Development Group.
I continued to oversee Chairman’s office besides assuming charge as one man department of Human Resource Development. Dr. (Miss) Amrita Patel the then Managing Director thought that I would be the most suitable person to head the newly created HRD function in NDDB. It was initially kept separate from Personnel Administration and Legal function.
But I had no back ground in HR.
Although there was one thing that Dr SP Mittal and I had successfully done. Miss Patel had entrusted the two of us to negotiate with the NDDB Employees Union and settle labour cases. There were a large number of cases pending in labour court, Labour Tribunal and and High Court. Dr. Mittal’s patience, listening ability and gentle demeanour together with my ability to connect with the leadership of the Union and support we had from Miss Patel helped us settle most of the cases barring some critical ones.
Dr V Kurien was consulted and Dr SP Mittal and I were sponsored for a training programme cum study tour of US of A and Canada for getting exposed to latest in HR theory and practices. Mr Rob Nelson and Carol Nelson who were Canadian International Development Agency appointed HR consultants to NDDB were he ones who organised our programme in North America.
I went to Dr Kurien and said
“Sir I am would be on tour to US and Canada for a training programe”
“I know, Miss Patel told me. I don’t know whats this HR VehR. But Madam wants you to go so go and enjoy “
Later on return when Dr Mittal and I would reflect on our learning’s we found that most of the theories that we learnt in North America were already being practiced in the organisation that we were working with.
We learnt to use new labels; Vision, Strategy, Structure, Key processes, Key roles, Rewards and Recognition, Culture etc.
Dr. Kurup worked with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) of India from 1969 to 1993 serving as a member of the of the Board and Executive Director of NDDB from 1991-1993.
As an International Consultant on Livestock and Dairying since 1993 he has worked countries across the world in Asia, Europe,North and America. He is currently based in Toronto.
I started my pilgrimage North in the late sixties not knowing when I set out that it was to be a pilgrimage at all. But it so happened that I was swapped up in a human saga set in motion by a giant among men, called Vergheese Kurien. What I recount below are some of the precepts and principles in leading men, doing things and achieving success that I learned as a part of this great movement.
There are only a lucky few who were fortunate enough to work with the legendary milk man of India: Vergheese Kurien, a visionary and pragmatist, a rare combination of qualities seldom found in one individual: his head in the clouds, but his feet planted squarely on terra firma. I was one among those lucky few and for almost a quarter of a century with a ring-side seat, just an arm’s length away from him, all along. A Leader of men par excellence and a champion of the farmers, he devoted a whole life time to help them shape their destinies and to build for them an empire, vast and powerful, entirely controlled by them through the professionals they employ.
I became a part of this team of professionals lead by Vergheese Kurien and along the way some of his wisdom rubbed off on us: we learned the tricks of the trade: leadership, man management, team spirit, attention to detail, decisiveness, and above all determination. The rules of the game too were as important as the tricks themselves: integrity – personal as well as professional, fairness, equity, punctuality, speed, prudence and accountability. Competence, efficiency and unflinching loyalty were pf course prerequisites to become a part of his team.
Management by delegation: delegation of responsibility and authority was the order of the day: we all learned that to load a man with responsibility and matching authority was the surest way to make him grow. We soon realized that one cannot lead from a crowd: one has to stand upfront to lead. Decision making became for us a matter of the head first and then of the heart as well: it was clear that the path to hell was paved with good intensions! In team building we learned to choose our peers, not the serf: the principle was: choose the one good enough to be your boss!
Lo and behold! We were soon a bunch of brats: head strong and cock sure, competent and aggressive, ready to take on the world and to hold on our own. We invaded the country with our tasks, teams and projects, changing the way we did business in our country and building enduring edifices as bulwarks against any onslaught of vested interests: and we succeeded all the way to the market, adding value and enhancing returns for our primary constituents: the farmers in India. And they cheered us on to advance and achieve as never before.
The theme was small holders and their livelihoods: the movement enabled over 10 million marginal and land less households of milk producer members in the cooperative movement to cross the poverty line and to enjoy a far better quality of life, in a sustained and progressively improving rural prosperity ambience. It taught us to look beyond the cow and see the man behind; and work for his welfare. The social capital build up in rural India enabled by the movement resulted in tens of thousands of viable and flourishing community based organizations owned and managed by farmers, institutionalizing their household livestock enterprises, giving them a continuing and sustainable livelihood option.
To me as an individual, the opportunities opened up by the movement were vast and varied, enabling me to become a major player in the development and orchestration of the livestock sector in India, to build and promote a nation-wide input generation network of animal feed mills, frozen semen production stations, bull mother farms, world class laboratories; to be the CEO of the second largest virus vaccine manufacturing plant in the world; and to coordinate and manage an army of professionals: a mixed bag of veterinarians, engineers, scientists, economists, environmentalists, sociologists, agronomists, accountants and administrators. After demitting office in the formal set up the experience and expertise gained over the quarter century I spent working with Dr.Kurien enabled me to become a successful international consultant handling widely varied mix of projects, the National Livestock Policy Perspective for the Government of India and to continue as a Consultant to the World Bank over the past 15 years.
Some say that Kurien is a big Banyan Tree under the shadows of which nothing grows: nothing can be farther from truth. For those of us working with him, it was this shadow that provided the protective umbrella, emboldening us to dare the limits every single day and achieve breakthroughs of personal and group excellence, always shielding us from harm and encouraging us to grow. No other leader has left behind such a vast skill pool of top class professionals and managers, who continue to contribute to nation-building in different sectors of our economy.
Next Post “Emerging Issues on Meat Sector as : Human Foods of Animal Orgin , Food Saftey and Food Security , in India.”
This post had earlier appeared on Dr MPG Kurup’s Facebook page.