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Nationwide Strike Shuts Down Major Indian Cities for a Day
September 23, 2012

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A one-day strike created deserted streets across India last week, as protesters voiced their opposition to the government's announced economic reforms.

Among the plans put forward by the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were a 14 percent increase in the price of diesel oil and a reduction in the barrier to entry by foreign supermarkets.

The streets of Bangalore, center of the Indian IT business, were deserted, as shops, offices, schools, and even public transport were closed off in support of the protest actions, which was organized by India's main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and other smaller parties from both the left and right sides of the political spectrum.

In other cities, including Hyderabad, trains and buses didn't run, standing many commuters who had otherwise intended to go to work, and shop doors and windows were shuttered. In some cities, businesses gave employees the day off or authorized work-from-home schemes.

In Mumbai, the economic capital, however, it was business as usual.

A government organization claimed that the one-day strike cost the economy $2.3 billion in trade and lost production. No other details were available, including how the figure was calculated.

The government has said that the reforms would go forward. No word has emerged on whether another strike is imminent.

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