ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Operation Flood: Reviving Debates

The EPW has long been a forum for debate on various controversial programmes and developments within India. Long-term readers may, for example, remember the many articles and exchanges that appeared within these pages in the 1980s, debating the strengths and weaknesses of Operation Flood, the world’s largest and most ambitious dairy development programme in India.

Did Operation Flood represent the creative use of European (and other) dairy surpluses donated as food aid or did these surpluses undermine domestic production? Was the programme’s reliance on imported production and marketing technology an innovative way forward or were the strengths of indigenous approaches subverted? Who benefi ted most from the milk production technology that was propagated under the programme – landless and smallholder producers or prosperous rural households? Did Operation Flood make milk available to children in nutritionally vulnerable families, or mainly to affluent urban consumers? These and many other issues were contested in the pages of the EPW during the 1980s, with the journal maintaining sound standards of debate in terms of the quality of analysis and argument.

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