Case #1929.0

Aruna Roy and the Birth of a People's Movement in India

Publication Date: July 28, 2010
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In 2005, the Parliament of India enacted the Right to Information Act, a law giving citizens of India access to central, state, and local government records. Under the law's provisions, citizens have the ability to request information regarding official acts from any public authority. Officials who refuse or delay requests are held responsible through fines or disciplinary action. Many individuals and organizations were involved in the lengthy and difficult process of getting this legislation enacted. This case focuses on one of these individuals, Aruna Roy, regarded by many observers as having played a key role in empowering citizens to exercise the democratic right to make their government transparent and accountable. It traces her background and the challenges she faced in developing her commitment to improving the lives of the poor and socially marginalized.

This case is accompanied by a Video Short that can be shown in class or included in a digital coursepack. Instructors should consider the timing of making the video available to students, as it may reveal key case details.

Learning Objective:
This case can be used to examine the success story of a female activist in bringing about changes to the rural poor in a nation traditionally plagued by issues of corruption and inequality based upon gender, caste, and religion. In particular, students can analyze how she overcame the challenges she faced toward achieving her goals.

Other Details

Material Included:
Case and Video Supplement
Case Author:
Pratibha Krishnamurthy
Video Producer:
Patricia Garcia-Rios
Faculty Lead:
Kenneth Winston
Pages (incl. exhibits):
Funding Source:
HKS Executive Education Program