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IAS invades NDDB...

All his life Verghese Kurien fought for milk development and administration to be steered by a representative of the milk co-operatives. He resisted the several powerful attempts made by Delhi to bring the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) under the control of bureaucrats. He also steadfastly resisted attempts to shift NDDB to Delhi. The recent appointment of T Nanda Kumar, IAS,  as new chairman of NDDB to succeed Amrita Patel should make Kurien turn in his grave. Only in our last issue, I recalled the pride Kurien took in describing himself as an employee of millions of dairy farmers who owned on an average 1.5 buffaloes.

Sadly even during Kurien’s lifetime there was schism at NDDB. Amrita Patel, handpicked by him to succeed him as the head of NDDB, differed from him. This resulted in serious conflicts between them, leading to his ultimate fall. With such serious division, NDDB’s role and importance declined. This also marked the onset of competition in the dairy sector. With the opening up of economy in 1991 and the abolition of the reservation of a large number of activities to the small and tiny sectors, dozens of private dairies emerged in the organised sector. Today, private dairies do more than half of milk procurement.

One also notices a trend of the IAS cadres continuing to win such plum posts as post-retirement rewards. I thought P Chidamabaram attempted to make a break by bringing in T S Vijayan from LIC as the head of IRDA and Raghuram Rajan as Reserve Bank Governor. Other prestigious statutory bodies like the Election Commission and Vigilance Commission continue to be the prerogative of retired IAS officers. There is need to broad base selection by looking for experts from the academia, world of science,  the corporate world ...


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