Aruna Roy

Right to Information Movement

Starting from a tiny village in the deserts of Rajasthan in the 1980s, Ms Roy began a long campaign to bring transparency to India’s notoriously corrupt bureaucracy through the Right to Information Movement. The Movement’s signal achievement is the 2005 Right to Information (“RTI”) Act, a law that has given the nation’s poor a powerful tool to fight for their rights and has influenced similar measures in other countries. It has also inspired thousands of RTI activists, who have exposed everything from land scams to bank embezzlement to the misuse of public funds meant for the poor. Since then, Ms Roy has helped shape an ambitious new entitlement for rural jobs and been part of a campaign for a food-security bill that will come before Parliament this year. She is co-convenor for a campaign for pensions for the elderly. Many social activists clamour for India to do more for the dispossessed. A former civil servant, Ms Roy doesn’t just condemn a broken system; she changes it. Named one of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in 2011.