Operation Flood, launched in 1970 is a project of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), which was the world's biggest dairy development program, that made India, from a milk-deficient nation to the world's largest milk producer, surpassing the USA in 1998, with about 17 percent of global output in 2010–11, which in 30 years doubled milk available per person, and which made dairy farming India’s largest self-sustainable rural employment generator. It was launched to help farmers direct their own development, placing control of the resources they create in their own hands. All this was achieved not merely by mass production, but by production by the masses.
The Anand pattern experiment at Amul, a single, cooperative dairy, was the engine behind the success of the program. Verghese Kurien was made the chairman of NDDB by the then Prime Minister of India,Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, and he was the chairman and founder of Amul as well. Kurien gave the necessary thrust using his professional management skills to the program, and is recognised as its architect.
Operation Flood had created a national milk grid linking milk producers throughout India with consumers in over 700 towns and cities, reducing seasonal and regional price variations while ensuring that the producer gets a major share of the price consumers pay, by cutting out middlemen. By reducing malpractices, it had helped dairy farmers direct their own development, placing control of the resources they create in their own hands.
The bedrock of Operation Flood has been village milk producers' co-operatives, which procure milk and provide inputs and services, making modern management and technology available to members. Operation Flood's objectives included:
- Increase milk production ("a flood of milk")
- Augment rural incomes
- Fair prices for consumers 
Operation Flood was implemented in three phases.
Phase I (1970–1980) was financed by the sale of skimmed milk powder and butter oil donated by the European Union (then the European Economic Community) through the World Food Program. NDDB planned the program and negotiated the details of EEC assistance.
During its first phase, Operation Flood linked 18 of India's premier milksheds with consumers in India's major metropolitan cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Thus establishing mother dairies in four metros.
The Operation Flood – 1 originally meant to be completed in 1975, actually spanned the period of about nine years from 1970–79, at a total cost of Rs.116 crores.
At start of operation Flood-1 in 1970 certain set of aims were kept in view for the implementation of the programs. Improvement by milk marketing the organized dairy sector in the metropolitan cities Mumbai (then Bombay), Kolkata (then Calcutta), Chennai (then Madras) and Delhi. The objectives of commanding share of milk market and speed up development of dairy animals respectively hinter lands of rural areas with a view to increase both production and procurement.
Operation Flood Phase II (1979–1985) increased the milk-sheds from 18 to 136; 290 urban markets expanded the outlets for milk. By the end of 1985, a self-sustaining system of 43,000 village cooperatives with 4,250,000 milk producers were covered. Domestic milk powder production increased from 22,000 tons in the pre-project year to 140,000 tons by 1989, all of the increase coming from dairies set up under Operation Flood. In this way EEC gifts and World Bank loan helped promote self-reliance. Direct marketing of milk by producers' cooperatives increased by several million litres a day. "RAKSHA" vaccine developed for cattle health.
Phase III (1985–1996) enabled dairy cooperatives to expand and strengthen the infrastructure required to procure and market increasing volumes of milk. Veterinary first-aid health care services, feed and artificial insemination services for cooperative members were extended, along with intensified member education.
Operation Flood's Phase III consolidated India's dairy cooperative movement, adding 30,000 new dairy cooperatives to the 43,000 existing societies organized during Phase II. Milk-sheds peaked to 173 in 1988-89 with the numbers of women members and Women's Dairy Cooperative Societies increasing significantly.
Phase III gave increased emphasis to research and development in animal health and animal nutrition. Innovations like vaccine for Theileriosis, bypassing protein feed and urea-molasses mineral blocks, all contributed to the enhanced productivity of milk producing animals.
There were some distinctive features behind the success of 'Operation Flood'. They were:
- Adopting new methods in the case of cattle in animal husbandry
- Changes in the composition of ingredients in different proportions
- Fixing of different costs according to standard of the wealth
this programme was spread over to five year plans namely fifth and sixth five year plans
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Some critics of the project argue that the emphasis on imported breeds of cattle has been instrumental in the decimation of Indian breeds. Foreign breeds give higher yields, but require more feed and are not suited to Indian conditions. Critics also argue that the focus on the dairy sector during this period came at the expense of development, research, and extension work in other areas of Indian agriculture.[who?]
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- Kurien, Verghese (2007). "India' s Milk Revolution: Investing in Rural Producer Organizations". In Narayan, Deepa; Glinskaya, Elena. Ending Poverty in South Asia: Ideas that work. Washington D.C., USA: (The World Bank). p. 42. ISBN 0-8213-6876-1. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
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- Sainath, P. (January 6, 2012). "Cattle class: native vs exotic". The Hindu (Chennai, India).
- 'The Man Who Made The Elephant Dance' authorized audio-autobiography of Dr. Verghese Kurien