Lijjat, the cooperative of India


New Delhi: Cooperative societies have played a significant role in the development of the Indian economy, besides empowering the women. The overwhelming success of cooperative societies can be gauged by the fact that 97 per cent of Indian villages claim to have a cooperative society run by its own villagers or by the government.

The Indian co-operative society model

An Indian co-operative society business model involves individuals of the same strata united to promote their common economic interest. It aims at betterment of the members and not on making profits. This model is mostly common among needy people who have the urge to stand on their own legs.

Unlike a company, cooperative is an organization where all the members are the stake holders and the profit is split equally among them.

The Success story of Lijjat:

Lijjat Papad is much more than a household name in India. Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad has epitomized the overwhelming story of “rags to riches”. Starting with a meager loan of Rs 80 in 1959, the cooperative registers an annual sale of a staggering Rs 301 crore now.

The unique selling proposition of the cooperative is its assurance of quality at a reasonable price. The cooperative has always ensured that every operation runs smoothly. Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad members have always earned a comfortable profit and its agents get their due share.

Gandhian simplicity and ethical workplace values have spring-boarded to the zenith and made it a model for other aspiring cooperatives.

The modus operandi

A bevy of women goes to the Lijjat branch to knead dough, which is then collected by another group of women for rolling it into papads. When the first group of women comes in the morning, they taste the previous day’s production and the quality gets automatically checked. After the quality check, another set of women pack the tasted papads for distribution.



Global presence

Lijjat has spread its wings beyond India. Exporting the product to various countries including United States, the United Kingdom, the Middle East countries, Singapore, Hong Kong and Holland, the company has clocked a turnover of Rs 10 crore. Though the cooperative does not export on its own , recognized professional merchant exporters handle the business.  At present, 30 to 35 per cent of the production of Lijjat Papad is being exported.

Recipe behind the success

Sharing of power and the Sarvodaya philosophy has helped the organization achieve such stardom. The authority decides the manner in which profit or loss should be apportioned among the members. A committee of 21 members manages the affairs of the institution. However, all decisions, major or minor, are based on consensus among members. Any single member’s objection can nullify a decision.

The cooperative started by seven women on a terrace of a building in Girgaum in Mumbai has scripted a success story because the members were pledged bound to share the destiny of each other. The tradition is still prevalent.

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