Arvind Kejriwal

Ashoka Fellow
Ghaziabad, Haryana, India
Fellow Since 2004

Citation

This profile was prepared when Arvind Kejriwal was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
In theory, democratic governments put their people in charge. In practice, the Indian government puts its people at the mercy of government functionaries who suppress information, extort money and favors in exchange for basic services, and thus violate the basic rights of citizens.

Arvind uses a 2001 law called the Right to Information Act (RTIA) to bring political power back to the people of India. The law began in Delhi, and has since spread to eight other states, opening opportunities for citizens to hold their governments accountable to high standards of transparency and integrity. Through his organization Parivartan, Arvind raises awareness of the Act and trains citizen groups to use the law to check corruption. He leverages a growing volume of success stories to demonstrate that direct engagement in local government can make a real difference in people’s lives.

The members and methods of Parivartan direct criticism beyond single individuals to cover entire departments and state machinery. This enables Arvin to use each victory to address the entire Indian political structure. Through patient and sustained effort, he lays the foundation for a new political system that values efficient service delivery, sensitive bureaucracy, and direct participation of the people.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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