Aruna Roy is an Indian political and social activist who founded the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) (“Workers and Peasants Strength Union”) along with Shankar Singh, Nikhil Dey, and others.
Aruna Roy has been at the forefront of a number of campaigns for the rights of the poor and the marginalized. These have included, most prominently, the Right to Information, the Right to Work (the NREGA), and the Right to Food. More recently, she has been involved with the campaign for the universal, non-contributory pension for unorganized sector workers as a member of the Pension Parishad and the NCPRI for the passage and enactment of the Whistleblower Protection Law and Grievance Redress Act.
Known for her work for the vulnerable sections of society, she was also a member of the NAC, a national advisory committee which was set up by the then UPA-1 government which was headed by Sonia Gandhi through most of its tenure.
Aruna Roy has been awarded Times Fellowships Award (1991) for her work for rural workers rights to social justice and creative development, Ramon Magsaysay Award (2000) for Community Leadership, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academia and Management (2010). In 2011, she was named as one of the hundred most influential people in the world by Time magazine and in September 2017 India Times listed Roy as one of the 11 Human Rights Activists Whose Life Mission Is To Provide Others With A Dignified Life.
She has also co-authored the book, “The RTI Story, Power to people” with MKSS Collective which is the story of the campaign that evolved into a genuine and vibrant people’s movement.