Aug 2, 2010
As in every country, the Indian government wants the population to pay for the crisis. At the end of June, the government proposed to end the subsidy for gasoline, supposedly in order to reduce the budget deficit. It’s a 7% increase in the price of gas. Overall inflation in India is already high, running at more than 10%.
On July 5, Indian workers responded with a 24-hour general strike against the announced increase in gas prices. The strike greatly reduced plane, train and truck traffic. Workers and poor people also set up roadblocks. The strike also shut schools, trade and businesses in many areas. The strikers held demonstrations in the big cities, particularly in Mumbai (Bombay), India’s financial capital.
According to a business organization, this one day strike cost the bosses 640 million dollars. For the moment, the government still plans the increase in gas prices.
For years, working and poor people in India have suffered from the high cost of living. In 2008, several strikes and demonstrations took place, after two increases in the price of heating gas and gasoline.
It remains to be seen if the workers and the poor will continue their offensive in the weeks to come.