Back in the mid-1940s, when the contractors and middlemen were exploiting the milk producers, the establishment of Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd., popularly known AMUL saved the day for the farmers in that area. The present-day Anand Pattern dairy cooperatives trace its origin to the establishment of a dairy cooperative at Anand in 1946 under the direction and guidance of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The dairy farmers of the then Kheda District of Gujarat organized themselves to form a dairy cooperative to directly undertake sale and processing of milk collected from member dairy farmers of the district. Sardar’s vision to organize farmers and have them gain control over production, procurement and marketing were taken forward by V. Kurien. Today, the dairy cooperatives generate employment opportunities for about 12 million farm families.
Amul is one of the finest examples of leveraging the social landscape for creating employment and promoting socio-economic development. As milk production did not require much land but more family labor which the poor had amply, the landless poor could easily and profitably participate in the white revolution, deriving employment and additional income from it. Interestingly, eradicating problems of poverty and unemployment was not the key agenda of operation flood. But its model was such that it automatically impacted millions of landless, marginal, and small farmers. In fact, Amul played an important role in generating employment for women as well.
This is the level of wonders a social enterprise can do. The report, state of social enterprise in India by British Council showed that social enterprise in India is developing fast. It also highlighted that more than half of the social enterprises create direct employment by employing disadvantaged groups in their workforce, nearly two-thirds work with the objective of creating employment, and more than half provide skills training to vulnerable groups. As per the report, social enterprises employ 19 employees on average (17 full-time and 4-part-time).
Based on the very small unrepresentative sampling process, there may be as many as 2,000,000 social enterprises currently operating in India and each one of them is trying to solve varied problems. The report showed that 53 percent of the social enterprises are engaged in skills development activities, 30 percent in education, 28 percent in agriculture/fisheries/dairy, 26 percent in financial services and 26 percent in energy and clean technology. And the most commonly stated objective of social enterprises in the survey was creating employment (62%).