The value of national ‘ownership’ in development of involving 2.8 million milk producers with AMUL separates itself from other success stories . Dr. Kurien on Rural Development ---
A large proportion of rural livelihoods in India are at the mercy of the law of diminishing marginal returns from land. This has led to the bleak phenomena of rural-urban migration, casualisation of urban labour and feminisation of agricultural labour etc. with the net effect of extremely insecure rural livelihoods. A successful rural development programme must help rural people stay on voluntarily and profitably in the villages. Cooperative dairy development on the Amul Pattern has been instrumental in securing rural livelihoods in many parts of India through income generation, agricultural diversification, risk distribution, female empowerment and assured employment.
Employment generation in India has seen a spurt even through the much vaunted Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) organizations and Information Technology (IT) setups. However, one must never forget that these activities suffer from the inherent disadvantage of working under business cycles. Further, the underpinning of these businesses is cheap and skilled manpower that is both highly mobile as well as susceptible to replication by other nations. Thus, even were outsourcing and information technology to reach our rural poor, they can never offer our country a sustainable competitive advantage, leaving us vulnerable to massive disruption should the business move on to other countries where skilled labor is less costly. On the other hand, the underpinning of a successful cooperative dairy business is comprised of farmers who have a collective consciousness and a shared vision towards the domain centrality of milk and the need for cooperation in dairying. Neither they nor their milch animals can be relocated or replicated in the short or medium term by any other nation. I therefore put forward my case that cooperative dairying on the Amul Pattern forms a source of assured employment and a sustainable basis of competitive advantage for India. Here, I quote Dr. William Lewis of Mckinsey Global Institute from his book 'The Power of Productivity': 'Hours worked producing milk in India are equivalent to 45 million full-time employees. That means dairy in India has more employment than any other sector in any economy in the World'.