India has progressed from a milk shortage country to the world's top producer.

India was previously a milk-shortage country. However, it is currently the world's greatest milk producer, accounting for 21% of worldwide milk output.

The situation was drastically different in the 1950s and 1960s. For numerous years, India was a milk-deficit country that relied on imports, and yearly output growth was negative.

During the first decade following independence, the annual compound growth rate in milk output was 1.64 percent, but it fell to 1.15 percent in the 1960s. In 1950-51, the country's per capita milk consumption was only 124 gramme per day. By 1970, this figure had fallen to 107 gramme per day, one of the world's lowest and much below the basic dietary guidelines. The dairy business in India was battling to survive.

In 1950-51, milk output was only 17 million tonnes (MT). Prior to the commencement of 'Operation Flood,' milk output was just 21.2 MT in 1968-69, increasing to 30.4 MT in 1979-80, 51.4 MT in 1989-90, and 209.96 MT in 2020-21. Daily milk consumption in the country increased from 107 gramme per person in 1970 to 427 gramme per person in 2020-21 during three decades (the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s).

The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was established in 1965 with the mission of assisting in the establishment of the 'Anand pattern' of dairy cooperatives throughout the country under the 'Operation Flood' programme, which was to be executed in stages.

The 'Anand Pattern' was essentially a cooperative organisation comprised of village-level Dairy Cooperative Societies (DCSs) that promote district-level unions that promote state-level marketing federation. Beginning in 1970, the NDDB duplicated the Anand-pattern cooperatives throughout India under the 'Operation Flood' campaign.

Verghese Kurien, well known in India as the "Father of the White Revolution," was the first chairman of the NDDB. Kurien and his team began work on the project's launch, which called for the formation of Anand-pattern cooperatives in milk sheds around the nation, from which liquid milk produced and acquired by milk cooperatives would be delivered to cities.

Through a National Milk Grid, 'Operation Flood' helped excellent milk reach customers in 700 towns and cities. The scheme also assisted in eliminating the need for middlemen, hence minimising seasonal price changes. The cooperative structure enabled the whole process of producing and distributing milk and milk products commercially viable for farmers to do on their own. It also put an end to India's reliance on imported milk solids. Not only was the country prepared to fulfil its own dairy demands, but it also began exporting milk powder to a number of international countries. Cross-breeding also boosted genetic improvement in milking animals. As the dairy business developed and grew, approximately 10 million farmers began to earn a living from dairy farming.

Following 'Operation Flood,' the Indian dairy and animal husbandry industry developed as a key source of income for a large number of rural households, the majority of which were landless, tiny, or marginal farmers. Today, India can be proud of being the world's greatest milk producer for over two and a half decades. India's milk output has more than quadrupled in the last two decades. The credit also belongs to 'Amul,' a well-known organisation founded by 3.6 million milk farmers in Gujarat. Amul followed in the footsteps of 'Operation Flood' in order to better the farmers' livelihoods. By assisting tiny dairy farmers in earning a living, milk production per residence was quadrupled.

The dairy industry is extremely important to India for a variety of reasons. It employs about 80 million rural families, the majority of whom are small and marginal farmers, as well as the landless. Cooperative societies have not only made farmers self-sufficient, but they have also torn down barriers such as gender, caste, religion, and community. Women producers make up the majority of the country's dairy workforce. The industry is a key source of employment, particularly for women, and it plays a vital role in women's empowerment.

With a number of government initiatives and the rising engagement of the private sector in dairy development, India is likely to maintain its rise in milk production and milk processing in the future decades. Since 2001, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has commemorated June 1 as World Milk Day to recognise the importance of milk as a worldwide food and to honour the dairy sector. Verghese Kurien's birthday, November 26, is recognised as National Milk Day in India.