India’s general strike against the economic policies of Narendra Modi

A two-day nationwide strike called by hundreds of thousands of workers to protest the government’s economic policies has left no corner of India, with pedestrians in favor. blocked roads and railroad tracks, and public transport was absent from the streets in many towns.

As Indian authorities race to come up with contingency plans to deal with the strike, the country’s federal electricity ministry has directed all publicly operated power companies to be on high alert. to ensure that hospitals, defense facilities and railways continue to be supplied with electricity.

The closures, which began early Monday, were called for by dozens of labor unions representing workers from both the public and private sectors. Union leaders say the protests target a range of government policies that they say have harmed workers, farmers and the general public. They also said they are demanding the immediate repeal of the new labor law that allows for contract work, giving employers more time in fixing wages and increasing working hours.

“The current government is anti-worker and anti-poor,” said Arthanari Soundararajan, an opposition politician from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Across the southern state of Tamil Nadu, hundreds of red-shirted protesters appeared in the streets blocking roads and chanting anti-government slogans, saying they opposed the privatization of electricity panels and fuel prices. get a raise.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has made a powerful pitch to the privatization process of some state-owned assets that it considers underperforming. Government-backed financial institutions are opposing the federal privatization move and also oppose a bill that would reduce the government’s minimum holdings in public sector banks from 51 % down to 26%.

With banking unions joining the strike, the State Bank of India, a government entity, has warned its customers that banking services may be affected on Monday and Tuesday. .

Protesters blocked railway lines and stopped trains at several locations in West Bengal state. In Kerala, in the south, the streets are empty and shops are closed.

In the western state of Maharashtra, home to the financial capital Mumbai, the local government invoked a law banning employees of power companies from participating in protests.

In New Delhi, the capital of India, some lawmakers supported the rally, holding banners inside the country’s federal parliament to protest against fuel price hikes.

List of strikers of 12 needs including freezing all privatization plans and providing universal social security for workers in the so-called informal sector of the nation’s workforce, such as rag pickers, street sweepers, and trailer drivers. The informal sector makes up an estimated 80% of India’s 470 million workers.

Anurag Saxena, a top official at the Center for Trade Unions of India, which has more than six million members nationwide working in the coal, steel, oil, telecommunications, banking and insurance sectors, said the government. Modi’s leadership is changing labor laws to the detriment of workers, effectively lowering wages even amid rising inflation. Privatization plans are another sore spot.

“They’re selling our railways, our airports, our ports, our oil industry and our refineries and our power transmission sector, nothing more,” Mr. Saxena said. “Whatever our ancestors built in this country is now being sold to private businesses and big businesses.”

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