Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the cooperative model was a viable economic alternative to capitalism and socialism, PTI reported. Modi, who addressed an event in Gujarat’s Anand, also hailed freedom fighter Vallabhbhai Patel, who founded the Amul dairy cooperative movement.

He said Patel showed people the importance of the cooperative economic model. “It fills me with pride that it is the result of farmers’ cooperative movement of over seven decades that Amul has become an identify, inspiration and necessity in the country,” Modi added.

“Sardar saheb [Patel] sowed the seed for a third economic model – controlled neither by government nor capitalists,” he said. “Instead, it was created with the cooperation of farmers and people and everybody was a part of it. This is one viable alternative to socialism and capitalism.”

Modi said while the Amul cooperative movement began in 1946, Patel began the first experiment of creating a cooperative housing society in 1927 in Ahmedabad. The prime minister said Amul should aim to become the third largest milk processor in the world, up from the current 10th position.

The prime minister also claimed that previous Congress governments in Gujarat had created hurdles to stop cooperatives from being set up, especially in the Kutch-Saurashtra region.

However, at another event in Anjar town, he asserted that the situation has changed in the last 20 years, ANI reported. “Those born after 2001 cannot imagine the lack of development in Kutch [in the past],” he said. “The water problem was acute. Very few people came here. Today, the world is coming to Kutch.” The Bharatiya Janata Party has been in power in Gujarat since 1995.

In Anand, Modi inaugurated a Rs 533-crore Amul chocolate plant, a nutritional food plant, a “centre of excellence in food processing” at the Anand Agriculture University and a Vidya Dairy ice cream plant. In Anjar, he inaugurated the Anjar-Mundra pipeline project and the Palanpur-Pali Barmer pipeline project.