Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan (JJSS) (formerly Jan Jagaran Abhiyaan) is a registered trade union of unorganised sector workers.
Today its an uphill task for people to even submit a job application under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). Many other entitlements provided by the government do not reach people and causes millions to live under abject poverty. JJSS mobilizes rural poor to demand better services from the government and to get the existing entitlements as laid down by the government. JJSS aims to bring about a larger change in the lives of rural poor by means of “sangharsh” (struggle) and “nirman” (constructive activities).
The JJSS, Araria grew from an intensive survey on NREGA initiated by the G.B. Pant Institute (Allahabad University) and Prof. Jean Dreze, in May, 2008. The survey focused on assessing the ground realities of NREGA in two districts of Bihar, namely Kaimur and Araria.
The survey also had related campaign activities like awareness generation, checking if transparency safeguards were in place to check corruption and documentation of irregularities and cases of corruption.
The survey showed that lack of awareness about NREGA entitlements amongst workers is very high. As part of checking the transparency safeguards the survey team also did some muster roll verification exercises (kind of social audit) and found a leakage of about 50 % in wages that have been paid.
These activities generated a lot of interest amongst local groups and people who are genuinely interested in issues of social change. This interest became the basis of the formation of the ‘Jan Jagaran Abhiyan’, Araria and was later renamed to Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan (JJSS). JJSS currently focuses on NREGA, Right to Information (RTI) and issues of justice.