Over 200 dairy professionals from across the country have urged the government of India (GOI) to shelve the proposed amendments in the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) Act 1987.
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TOI was first to report last month about the proposed amendments in the NDDB Act which would change the mandate of the Anand-headquartered national board.

It was on the behest of late Prime Minister (PM) Lal Bahadur Shastri that NDDB was formed with the mandate by Parliament to follow the “co-operative strategy”.

“The primary DNA of both Amul and NDDB was ‘the cooperative strategy’ which gave the farmer members ownership over not just the enterprise but also the brand name, and helped eliminate the middleman,” the petition sent to the Central government states.

“This ‘cooperative strategy’ was the basis of Operation Flood executed by NDDB in 26 years between 1970 and 1996 that helped India grow its milk production from 20 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 1970 to almost 200 MMT now, leading to increased nutrition through increased milk per capita availability from 103 gm in 1970 to almost 400 gm now.

It wasn’t as if milk production increased across the world at this rate, our contribution to world milk production increased from 5% to 22% in the last 5 decades,” reads the petition submitted by former employees, managing directors and individuals associated with the cooperatives.

The signatories include B M Vyas, former managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF); Manu Kaushik, former senior executive at GCMMF; Canada-based Shailendra Kumar, former senior general manager at NDDB and other officials who have served at GCMMF and NDDB.

The petitioners have mainly objected to the proposals of opening NDDB to investing in the private sector and allowing a private dairy industry ‘expert’ on the board of NDDB. “It is antitheses to all that NDDB stands for, all its principles and its philosophy. It is like telling a yoga guru to do Zumba!,” the petition states.

While stating that there is no dearth of funders for the private dairy start-ups, the petition reads that there is only one for the dairy cooperatives – NDDB.

“Making it a venture fund for start-ups would deprive the two crore original dairy entrepreneurs of India of their support structure. The structure they helped build. The structure made in their name,” the petitioners states, adding that the fling with the private sector will also open doors for deeper moves in the future. Further, the co-operative professionals have pointed out that institution like NDDB has been built with taxpayers’ money and funds were raised in the name of farmers. “Their rightful owners should be farmers,” the petition states.

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