Gopal Ratna awards presented to mark ‘National Milk Day’ on Kurien’s centenary

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As part of the ‘National Milk Day’ celebrations to commemorate the birth centenary of ‘Milkman of India’ and dairy cooperatives pioneer Dr Varghese Kurien, “Gopal Ratna” awards in multiple categories were given to individuals and organisations on Friday.

It is since 2014 that November 26 is celebrated as the ‘National Milk Day’ to commemorate the birthday of Dr Kurien, lauded as the father of India’s white revolution. Few people know that Kurien also established 30-odd institutions that are all run by farmers.

Stating that the ‘Gopal Ratna’ awards will set benchmarks and help adopt best practices and innovation, Union Animal Husbandry & Dairying Minister Parshottam Rupala said: “Dr Kurien was a firm believer of ‘vocal for local’ ideology. The cooperative model of Amul has instilled a sense of confidence and self-belief among the farmers.”

“Materialising Dr Verghese Kurien’s dream and taking it forward would be the best tribute to the great man for his dedication and sacrifices. India is right now in the perfect moment to do that when the global milk production is declining whereas India’s milk production is increasing. India can become the milk provider to the world,” he said.

Rupala appreciated the National Dairy Development Board for organising National Milk Day at Anand to commemorate Dr Kurien’s birth centenary. The event was jointly organised by the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying under the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, the NDDB and other institutions such as the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF Ltd), Kaira Milk Union (Amul Dairy), NCDFI Ltd, Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA), Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd, IDMC Ltd, Indian Immunologicals Ltd, NDDB Dairy Services and Anandalaya, a release from the NDDB said.

Earlier, the Minister conferred the ‘Gopal Ratna Awards’ to the winners of the ‘Best Dairy Farmer’ rearing indigenous cattle/buffalo breeds, ‘Best Artificial Insemination Technician’, and ‘Best Dairy Cooperative Society (DCS)’/’Milk Producer Company’/’Dairy Farmer Producer Organisation’ in the country.

He also inaugurated the IVF Lab at Dhamrod, Gujarat and Hessergatta, Karnataka and Start-up Grand Challenge 2.0 after he flagged off ‘Milkobikes’ (jointly developed by NDDB and IDMC Ltd) – motorcycles with milking machines for encouraging self-employment.

The NDDB-developed web portal for breed multiplication scheme and urban kit organic manure were also launched on the occasion and a biography “Utterly Butterly Milkman” authored by Nirmala Kurien, daughter of Dr Kurien was released. A remake of the iconic TVC of 1990s – ‘Doodh Doodh Piyo Glass Full’ and a tribute film on Dr Kurien were also showcased during the ceremony.

Union Ministers of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Dr Sanjeev Kumar Balyan and Dr L Murugan, officials from the Ministry and NDDB also spoke on the occasion, the release said.

Among other programmes/events to celebrate the centenary, Chairman, HelpAge International, Arun Maira, delivered the Dr Kurien Memorial Lecture organised by the IRMA.

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