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Debating Operation Flood

This has reference to the letter published in EPW (“Operation Flood: Reviving Debates”, 29 January 2011) on the said subject. The authors of the letter are eminent scholars and well known for their critical work on the Operation Flood (OF) programme. I welcome their initiative to revive the debate on OF. Without getting into any of the personal aspects mentioned in their note, I would like to make some comments to contribute to the debate they wish to revive.

Operation Flood, which ended formally in 1996, is one of the major rural development interventions undertaken with state support in India. But unlike several other state-led interventions, OF had many unique features and has had a variegated impact on dairy development, both positive and negative. As a programme, it had multiple goals and a relatively complex set of intervening mechanisms, much of which have been studied and evaluated. Overall, one could say there is mixed verdict on OF and, given its sheer size and nature, a better clarity and understanding is needed to make any final judgment on it.

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