In October 1964, Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri visited Amul, a village-based dairy cooperative that produced, processed, and distributed high quality dairy products. Impressed with its achievements, Shastri proposed making Amul a pattern for rural dairy development throughout India. This case tells the story of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)--established in 1965 to realize Shastri's vision-and its charismatic director, Verghese Kurien. Part A provides a description both of Amul and its operations and of more traditional modes of dairying in India, and then briefly outlines the obstacles facing the new agency. Part B further describes stumbling blocks to NDDB's success, focusing in particular on vested interests resistant to the idea of a rural cooperative dairy system. The case then goes on to describe in detail the actions Kurien took to surmount these obstacles and create an organization that, by 1979, had organized 12,000 villages into cooperative societies and reached a number of goals in milk production.
The case allows students to look at the role of ideology, outside pressure, and charisma in gaining political authorization. In terms of issues of organizational capacity, it also raises the question of how to institutionalize the work of a charismatic leader.