A special one-day conference was organized on 27 December as part of the centenary birth celebrations of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj in Ahmedabad, in partnership with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), Amul and the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav government initiative.
Titled ‘Modern Trends in Dairy Sector’, the conference was led by a panel of high-calibre speakers, namely Meenesh Shah (Chairman, NDDB), Dr R.S. Sodhi (Managing Director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF)), K.M. Bhimjiyani, IAS (Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Cow Breeding & Fisheries Co-operation), Dileep Sanghani (President, National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI)), Parshottam Solanki (Hon’ble Minister of State of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, Govt. of Gujarat), Dr. Amit Kanani, (Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Gandhinagar), Dr. Falguni Thaker (Director, Animal Husbandry, Gandhinagar), Amit Vyas (Managing Director, Amul Diary), Dr. Pankaj Shersia, (NDDB), Dr. Nilesh Nayee (NDDB), Dr. Mukeshbhai Patel, Dr. Samir Patel, (Sabar Milk Union), Dr. Vishal Suthar (Kamdhenu University) and Jayen Mehta (COO, GCMMF).
In his inspiring inaugural address, Brahmaviharidas Swami, a senior swami of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), said, “We are gathered here for a unique conference to facilitate the meeting of minds by bridging the gap between technology and farmers. Technocrats have a duty to understand the underlying issues of farmers. Equally, farmers should strive to understand the positive impact of technological practices in agriculture.
“Pramukh Swami Maharaj used to say, ‘A country does not progress until its farmers are satisfied.’ We should increase our faith in God by drawing inspiration from Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life. Many years ago, while Pramukh Swami Maharaj was in London, he received news that the rains had not yet arrived in Gujarat. He woke in the middle of the night at 4am to pray to God, knowing that the farmers in Gujarat would be worrying. Pramukh Swami Maharaj understood and empathized with the farmers.
“Verghese Kurien, the father of the White Revolution of India, had special affection for Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He would say, ‘God is present in Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Upon looking at Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s work, I feel I have achieved nothing.’ While you visit ‘Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar’, you will witness the selfless service of 80,000 volunteers. You will be able to learn that a task done with devotion and faith will always be successful.”
Bhagwatcharandas Swami, a senior sadhu of BAPS and mahant of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Anand, shared, “Verghese Kurien and Pramukh Swami Maharaj shared a special bond. Whenever Pramukh Swami Maharaj visited Vallabh Vidyanagar, Dr. Kurien would come and engage in the company of Pramukh Swami Maharaj for half an hour. Verghese Kurien always said ‘I have no doubt that Pramukh Swami Maharaj is a pure and a good man.’”
Meenesh Shah, Chairman of NDDB, said in his welcome address, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj was an enlightened saint. Through his works, he continued the legacy of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and his spiritual successors. He dedicated his entire life for the welfare of people. NDDB still looks upon the guidance provided by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. This conference has only been possible due to his blessings. We are connected with BAPS through many different projects, such as managing the Cowshed of Ranchhodraiji Temple at Dakor.”
He further elaborated on how scientific technology and support are required to improve the farming and dairy industries. He urged everyone to work with honesty and hard work so that the vision of Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi can be achieved by the 100th Independence year of India.
Dr. RS Sodhi, Managing Director of GCMMF, said, “I thank BAPS for giving importance to our sector by organizing a full-day conference at ‘Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar.’” He further expressed gratitude towards the initiatives of Verghese Kurien, Amul and the farmers to increase milk production in India. He then shared his insights on advancing the dairy industry in India and how it has resulted in the welfare of society.
K. M. Bhimjiyanti, IAS Secretary of Animal Husbandry, Cow Breeding & Fisheries Cooperation, highlighted the role of the NDDB in increasing the income of farmers. He further shared insights on the progress of medical care of dairy animals.
Dileep Sanghani, President of the National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) and IFFCO, highlighted the development and growth of AMUL and shared insights on increasing the productivity and quality of milk production while balancing animal welfare.
Parshottam Solanki, Honourable Minister of State of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, Government of Gujarat, said, “I would like to thank BAPS for imparting lessons on how we can progress and improve society by leading dharma-centric lives.”
Dr Amit Kanani, Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry, Gandhinagar, said, “Bhagwan Swaminarayan educated society on how to identify the risk of different diseases infecting cattle and how to find a solution. Scientific tools should be used for healthy animal husbandry. Farmers should work in cooperation with doctors and various government schemes for the welfare of their cattle.”
Dr. Falguni Thaker, Director of Animal Husbandry, Gujarat, shared her insights on the importance of different government initiatives on animal husbandry and fisheries. She said, “Visiting Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar is an opportunity for all to learn exceptional management skills inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”
Amit Vyas, Managing Director of Amul Dairy, spoke about modern trends in scientific dairy farming. “Dairy is the best source of protein and our vision for 2033 is to achieve 30% of total milk production in the world.” He further shared insights on dairy herd management trends, digitalization, sustainable practices in dairy farming, and emphasized the need for cattle healthcare.
Dr. Pankaj Sherasiaf from NDDB spoke on how to increase milk production and educated the audience on the Rational Balancing Programme (RPB) initiated by NDDB to educate farmers on balanced feeding of their cattle.
Dr. Nilesh Nayee, also from NDDB, shared his insights on modern trends in animal breeding and the latest government initiatives to encourage the production of animal breeds through new technological practices.
Mukesh Patel spoke about the benefits of implementing biogas as a fuel source in farming and how it has contributed to the Swacch Bharat initiative by the Government of India.
Dr. Samir Patel of the Sabar Milk Union spoke on ayurvedic methods to treat cattle and their benefits in treating cattle mastitis.
Dr. Vishal Suthar of the Kamdhenu University shared insights on how to maximize profitability in dairy farming through application of modern technology.
The session concluded with the insights of Jayen Mehta, COO of GCMMF, who spoke on the future of the dairy industry in India with a special focus on Gujarat, highlighting the contribution of AMUL.
This event was the eighth in a series of 14 such conferences for professionals of various fields, including doctors, lawyers, industrialists, technocrats and entrepreneurs. It is a testament to the progressive mindset of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, whose work and teachings touched people from all walks of life, to ensure the holistic success and happiness of everyone in society.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was an exemplary spiritual leader who personified his universal teaching, “In the joy of others lies our own.” The culmination of his centenary anniversary is being celebrated through a month-long festival on a 600-acre site off the SP Ring Road in Ahmedabad made possible by the selfless service of more than 80,000 volunteers inspired by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual successor of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.