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The old Amul pattern is outdated and has become “village society secretary centric” : absolutely redundant and no more suitable to the current environment and rapidly approaching developments. 

Amul, is India’s largest milk cooperative society with headquarters Anand, Gujarat. It was set up in 1946, a brand managed by a cooperative body, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF), which today is jointly owned by 36 lakh milk producers in Gujarat

Over the last sixty-seventy years, the secretaries have become very powerful because all the money going to farmers was routed through them. 

They earned a lot of money through means which were fair and foul. This also helped them to become politically powerful. 

They now play an active role in the election of Directors and Chairman (read power to manipulate Managing Directors and other employees). 

The criteria for employment in the milk unions is faulty: Whether you are a local candidate and also whether you have support of these secretaries and unions Directors. 

Initially it started at junior level. Over a period of time these employees have become senior managers many times in jobs which they are incompetent to perform. (The Parkinson law of incompetence) 

The corruption has also got entrenched in the system and competence has slowly receded in the background. 

Naturally the adverse effects of in-breeding and corruption have become rampant. 

The principal of self sacrifice and general good of society and nation is no more a guiding spirit. 

The Amul federation and unions having enjoyed all the developmental generous benefits (many times very favourably biased to Gujarat) under the operations floods and other government programs have become too big and selfish. 


Instead of sincerely helping similar cooperative unions in other states of the country, they have now started expanding to other states and started exploiting their farmers and resources. In fact it has started operating like East India Company – a new form of cooperative colonisation. 

Large amounts of money handled by Amul pattern unions in Gujarat is attracting corrupt leadership and politicians – a few things which we vainly tried to structurally keep out.  

The inbreeding in professional staff at top and absence of new blood in the unions and more particularly the federation, and corruption at many levels have made the federation too weak to hold the unions together. The unions are fighting each other and there is every possibility that federation may break in the very near future. 

Already court battles for administrative control, political leadership and corruption have started in many unions and between unions and the federation.

There are regular reports of huge thefts and corruption and adulteration of products. 


Time has come to rethink the industry because India will not be able to resist the entry of multinationals for long. 

After recent changes in agricultural laws, the international pressure for free trade in dairy industry would increase many folds and India with its current financial situation and Chinese forces on the border, would have no alternatives but to allow entry of multinationals ,  who would have much more financial resources and far better trained and experienced managers then Amul Federation and so called Amul pattern Unions. The position is quite grim and there is a very urgent need for drastic structural corrections. Honesty and self sacrifice have to play a central role. 

The structural changes have to start at every level starting from village level society and not excluding federation and BODs of unions and federation. 

About the author:
JS Punjrath

JS Punjrath The writer, JS Punjrath had formal education from top most Institutions Cornell & Michigan State University. He remained head of the department of dairy engineering at NDRI, Karnal and played a role in the world famous operations flood along with Dr. V. Kurien. He also worked as head of Milkfed, Punjab and Cargill Sri Lanka and a consultant to World Bank and an advisor to Velocity Capital of Netherlands for setting up a large dairy projects in Ethiopia. After his retirement as Executive Director from NDDB, and he served as technical advisor to GCMMF.

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