A nationwide strike called by the opposition parties to protest against the foreign direct investment in retail and the fuel price hike partially affected the normal life in India Thursday.
Mumbai, the financial hub of India, was largely unaffected as the Shiv Sena, which rules the city’s municipal corporation, was not supporting the strike. Vehicles were off the roads in other major cities, including New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.
The UPA government last week announced the decision to go ahead with the FDI in retail, aviation and broadcasting following the widespread criticism against it over policy paralysis. Also, the government announced the decision to hike the diesel prices by 14 percent to reduce the increasing subsidy costs faced by the country.
The opposition National Democratic Alliance and the Left parties, which called for the bandh, say the decision to allow FDI in retail will be disastrous to the country. The parties argue that it will be suicidal for the small and marginal farmers and would affect thousands of traders in the sector.
However, the initial estimates by the government is that FDI in retail will create over four million jobs in small and medium industries and another 5-6 million jobs in the logistics sector in the coming three years, according to Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.