The right to know, the right to live: grassroots struggle for information and work in India

Pande, Suchi (2014) The right to know, the right to live: grassroots struggle for information and work in India. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This study attempts to develop an understanding of the iterative and multi-scaled
process involved in transforming the state from below by examining the relationship
between two of the most politicised rights-based legislations in India: the Right to
Information Act (RTI) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee
Act (NREGA). Based on one and a half years of ethnographic and interview based
research, and five years of working with the RTI campaign, I examine the reciprocal
relationship between the rights to information and work, and the multi-scaled activism
necessary to instantiate both. First, I trace different phases of the struggle for the right to
information, beginning with the creation of alternative public spheres, Jan sunwais (or
rural public hearings) that responded to demands for the right to work in rural
Rajasthan. Second, as this demand culminated in a broad-based advocacy network, I
examine the role of actors from diverse institutional arenas that succeeded in passing the
national RTI legislation. I also look at how the same national network of activists
introduced the public accountability mechanism of social audits, inspired by the Jan
sunwai, into the new right to work law or NREGA. Finally, bringing the process full
circle, I look at the ongoing efforts of the MKKS and the Suchna Evum Rozgar Adhikar
Abhiyan (The Right to Information and Work Campaign) to implement the right to
work on the ground in rural Rajasthan. In contrast to existing studies, I provide a more
comprehensive analysis of the interdependent struggle for rights to information and
work as one long iterative process to transform the state from below. I conclude with
some reflections on the different vision of “transparency” and “accountability”
emerging from rural grassroots struggles and what the RTI and NREGA experiences
teach us about the possibilities for their realisation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: Institute of Development Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD4801 Labour. Work. Working class > HD8045 By region or country > HD8101 Other regions or countries > HD8651 Asia > HD8670.3 South Asia > HD8681-8690 India > HD8686.5 History. By period. 1945-
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2014 07:14
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015 13:32

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