Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
|Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan|
Poster of the MKSS
The Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (Association for the Empowerment of Workers and Peasants) is an Indian social movement and grassroots organisation best known for its successful struggle and demand for the Right to Information Act (RTI) which grew out of the demand for minimum wages for workers. It is one of the forefront civil rights movements in India, and can cite legislation of the RTI as its major achievement.
The MKSS began by attempting to understand root causes and reasons for the non-payment of wages to workers employed by the government on works under departments including the public works department. In the search for these reasons, the MKSS found that any information they asked for was denied to them. On April 6th 1996, the MKSS announced a strike in the town of Beawar in Ajmer, Rajasthan.
Jan Sunwai : Public Hearings
One of the most important innovations of the MKSS has been the method of Jan Sunwais or Public Hearings where detailed documents derived from official expenditure records were read aloud to the people of the villages who gathered. Jan Sunwais are organised independent of the government but government officials are invited to attend. In the form of a hearing, people are invited to give their testimonies which often reveal differences between official records and people's experiences. Before the existence of the RTI Act, it was very difficult to access official records and not many Jan Sunwais could be organised.
- Mohan, Shriya (3 October 2009). "Seekers, Finders, Keepers". Tehelka. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
- Roy, Bunker (11 May 1996). "Right to Information: Profile of a Grass Roots Struggle". Economic and Political Weekly 31 (19): 1120–1121.
- Jenkins, Rob; Anne Marie Goetz (June 1999). "Accounts and Accountability: Theoretical Implications of the Right-to-Information Movement in India". Third World Quarterly. The New Politics of Corruption 20 (3): 604.
- Jenkins, Rob; Anne Marie Goetz (June 1999). "Accounts and Accountability: Theoretical Implications of the Right-to-Information Movement in India". Third World Quarterly. The New Politics of Corruption 20 (3): 605.