In what was an excellent discussion (held on 13.09.2020) with activists Aruna Roy, Shankar Singh and Nikhil Dey on the socio-economic rights under the Indian Constitution and its significance, the following themes were addressed in detail by the esteemed panel:
1. Activating the Directive Principles of State Policy and giving more content to them: Many advocacy campaigns undertaken by MKSS with respect to various social issues have helped add more content to the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) under the Indian Constitution and activate them. We try to understand how people’s movements can successfully push Governments to give more content to DPSPs and realise them on ground.
2. The significance of Right to Information Act, 2005: A lot of the campaigns around socio-economic issues have gained more strength through the use of the RTI. For example, information about forest clearances and acquisition of land etc, has helped fight the arbitrary whittling down of people’s rights. We explore the significance of the RTI law in relation to other constitutional rights and look at how watering it down may severely impact our democracy.
3. Challenges we face in order to take forward our fight for socio-economic rights in contemporary India. How do movements around critical issues emerge within the constitutional framework and fight for our socio-economic rights.