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Aruna Roy
Aruna Roy (2019).jpg
President of the National Federation of Indian Women
Assumed office
Preceded by Dr. K. Saradamoni
Personal details
Born 26 June 1946 (1946-06-26) (ageĀ 75)
Nationality Indian
Alma mater Delhi University
Occupation Activist
Awards Ramon Magsaysay Award, 2000; Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award, 2010

Aruna Roy (born 26 June 1946) 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 many others. Roy is known for her clear and vocal stand on the question of right to dissent and known for her work for the vulnerable sections of society, she was also a member of the National Advisory Council which was set up by the then UPA-1 government which was headed by Sonia Gandhi through most of its tenure. She is the president of National Federation of Indian Women.

Early life

Roy grew up in Delhi where her father was a government employee. She studied English literature at Indraprastha College, Delhi University.

She served as a civil servant in the Indian Administrative Service between 1968 and 1974.

Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan

Roy resigned from the civil services and began to work on issues related to the poor and marginalised. She joined the Social Work and Research Center (SWRC) in Tilonia, Rajasthan. In 1987, she along with Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh and others founded the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan.

The MKSS began by fighting for fair and equal wages for workers which shaped and evolved into a struggle for the enactment of India's Right to Information Act. Aruna Roy is a leader of the Right to Information movement in India through the MKSS and the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI), which was finally successful with the passage of the Right to Information Act in 2005.


Aruna Roy has been at the forefront of a number of campaigns for the rights of the poor and the marginalised. 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 universal, non-contributory pension for unorganised 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.

Awards and other work

She served as a member of the National Advisory Council (NAC) until 2006 when she resigned.

While with the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Aruna Roy was awarded the Times Fellowships Award for 1991 for her work for rural workers rights to social justice and creative development. In 2000, she received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. In 2010 she received the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academia and Management. In 2011, she was named as one of the hundred most influential people in the world by Time magazine. In September 2017 the Times of India listed Roy as one of the 11 Human Rights Activists Whose Life Mission Is To Provide Others With A Dignified Life.

She was also appointed the 2016 professor of practice in global governance at McGill University, in Montreal.

In 2018, along with the MKSS collective, Roy published a book chronicling the history of the Right to Information movement in India titled The RTI Story: Power to the People.

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