Director, Social Work and Research Center, India
Aruna Roy is a social and political activist. She was born in Chennai in 1946, and worked in the Indian Administrative Service from 1968 to 1975. She resigned in order to devote her time to social work and social reform. She joined the Social Work and Research Center in Tilonia, Rajasthan, which had been set up by her husband Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy where she worked until 1983. She then moved to Devdungri, Rajsamand District, Rajasthan in 1987, and along with Shanker Singh, Nikhil Dey and many others helped to form the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS).* Aruna Roy is a prominenet member of many campaigns. She is one of the founders of the movement for Right to Information in India. The movement has been credited for getting Right to Information laws passed in several States, including the Rajasthan Right to Information Act passed in the year 2000. The RTI movement and campaign also played a crucial role in the passage of strong national legislation for the Right to information in the year 2005. Her contribution to the cause has been widely appreciated.
In 2000, she was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. Aruna Roy requested that the award be given to the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, but was informed that it was only given to individuals. She put the award money into a trust to support the process of democratic struggles. She has also been a member of different public hearings, tribunals and peoples commissions including the “Concerned Citizens Tribunal”, which investigated the organized violence and killings of innocent people in Gujarat in 2002.
She was a member of the Central governments National Advisory Council from 2004-2006, where she played a key role in incorporating strong citizens entitlements in the recently enacted Right to Information and National Rural Employment Guarantee Acts. She is currently a member of the National Employment Guarantee Council.
Aruna Roy, is a member of the MKSS, the National Campaign for Peoples Right to Information, NAPM, PUCL and similar campaigns