Aruna Roy gets Lal Bahadur Shastri award

President Pratibha Patil presented the prestigious Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academia and Management to Aruna Roy, social and political activist. The award carries a prize of Rs. 5 lakh, a plaque and a citation stating that the award was conferred on Ms. Roy for her “arduous journey and dedication towards the issue of the common man.” It noted that the most significant of Ms. Roy's efforts had been the campaigns for transparency and the people's right to information, which began in the early 1990s, and, more recently, the right to work campaign. “These [two] broad-based collective campaigns helped ensure the passage of the Right to Information law and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act [now the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act] by Parliament in 2005.”
Ms. Roy is a member of the second National Advisory Council, set up by the Central government to advise it on social policies, and the Central Employment Guarantee Council, an advisory body to oversee the implementation of the MGNREGA. Ms. Roy is also a founder member of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and a member of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information, the National Alliance of People's Movements and the People's Union for Civil Liberties. She resigned IAS in 70s to join the Social Work and Research Centre set up by her husband in Tilonia, Rajasthan, and subsequently established the MKSS along with Shankar Singh and Nikhil Dey. Accepting the award on behalf of the people she was working with, Ms. Roy announced that it would be utilised to support the process of democratic struggle.