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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

INDIA REVOLT - India braces for general strike

Indian workers have begun a strike against high inflation and to demand better working conditions and an end to selling off state firms.

The strike has the support of most of India's major trade unions and thousands of smaller unions from across the political spectrum.

Banks, transport, post offices and ports are thought most likely to be affected by the industrial action.

But services on India's rail network are not expected to be disrupted.

States such as West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, where the communist parties have greater influence, had been expected to be most affected by the strike.

But early reports from Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal, said the normal life was largely unaffected by the strike.

Public transport, including the city's metro railway network, was running normally and flight operations from the domestic and international airports were on schedule, the Press Trust Of India news agency said.

"Everything has been normal so far. Things are going on well. Tight security arrangements are in place with 400 police pickets set up in various parts of the city," police commissioner RK Pachnanda said.

TV channels reported that the strike was having little impact in Delhi and Mumbai.

Although India's inflation rate dropped from 9.1% in December, it remains stubbornly high at 7.5%.

Growth for the financial year ending in March is also expected to be around 7%, lower than the previous forecasts of about 9%.

The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is trying to cut its budget deficit by selling stakes in state-run companies - something the unions object to.

Other demands include measures to curb inflation, universal social security cover for non-unionised workers and enforcement of labour laws.

Source: BBC - India braces for general strike

Strike across India likely to hit major services

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