A white touch to a refreshed green revolution

A white touch to a refreshed green revolution


  • The Amul model, of a socio-economic enterprise, has immense potential to aid India’s crop-growing farmers.

Importance of November 26, 2021

  • November 26, 2021 was celebrated in Anand, Gujarat as the 100th birth anniversary of Verghese Kurien, the leader of India’s ‘white revolution’, which increased the incomes and the wealth of millions of cattle-owning small farmers in India, many of them women.
  • November 26, 2021 also marked one year from the day when thousands of crop-growing farmers, who have been the beneficiaries of the ‘green revolution’ which increased their incomes, began a non-violent protest to force the Indian government to withdraw the new laws it made to undo the policies of the green revolution. 

Revolutions, varied purposes

  • The purpose of the green revolution was to increase the output of agriculture to prevent shortages of food.
  • The purpose of the white revolution was to increase the incomes of small farmers in Gujarat, not the output of milk.

    A white touch to a refreshed green revolution
    Credit: TH
  • The green revolution was largely a technocratic enterprise driven by science and the principles of efficiency.
  • The white revolution was a socio-economic enterprise driven by political leaders and principles of equity. 

The Amul model

  • Amul has become one of India’s most loved brands, and is respected internationally too for the quality of its products and the efficiency of its management.
  • It has successfully competed with the world’s largest corporations and their well-established brands.
  • Kurien’s accounts of the political battles he fought for ‘Make in India’, and of the ‘can-do’ spirit and innovation of Indian engineers, are inspiring.
  • Kurien and his engineering compatriots in the organisation were compelled to develop solutions indigenously when Indian policy makers, influenced by foreign experts, said Indians could not make it.
  • The enterprise achieved its outcome of empowering farmers because the governance of the enterprise to achieve equity was always kept in the foreground, with the efficiency of its production processes in the background as a means to the outcome.

Proposed Guidelines for new solutions to increase farmers’ incomes

  • The need for new solutions to increase farmers’ incomes has become imperative.
  • Moreover, fundamental changes in economics and management sciences are necessary to reverse the degradation of the planet’s natural environment that has taken place with the application of modern technological solutions and management methods for the pursuit of economic growth.
  • IRMA, or the Institute of Rural Management Anand, which Kurien had founded to develop a new breed of manager for increasing the well-being of farmers, convened a workshop to celebrate his 100th birth anniversary to discover what can be learned from the white revolution to regreen the green one.
  • The first insight is: inclusion and equity in governance must be hardwired into the design of the enterprise.
    • Increase in the incomes and wealth of the workers and small asset owners in the enterprise must be the purpose of the enterprise, rather than production of better returns for investors.
  • The second: the ‘social’ side of the enterprise is as important as its ‘business’ side. 
    • Therefore, new metrics of performance must be used, and many ‘non-corporate’ methods of management learned and applied to strengthen its social fabric.
  • The third: solutions must be ‘local systems’ solutions, rather than ‘global (or national) scale’ solutions. 
    • The enterprise must be embedded in the local community from whom it gets its environmental resources, and whose well-being it must nourish by its operations.
  • The fourth: science must be practical and useable by the people on the ground rather than a science developed by experts to convince other experts. 
  • The fifth: sustainable transformations are brought about by a steady process of evolution, not by drastic revolution.
    • Like strong drugs to treat specific ailments, large-scale transformations imposed from the top can have strong side-effects too. They slowly weaken the patient’s health, as the scientific managerial solutions of the green revolution have harmed the soil and water resources of northern India.
  • Large-scale farming using modern scientific methods was the approach in the Soviet Union to improve agricultural outputs, as it is in the United States, and it achieved equally spectacular results.


  • The essence of democratic economic governance is that an enterprise must be of the people, for the people, and governed by the people too.



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