Xinhua News Agency, New Delhi. Sep.5—millions of Indians from Public transportation, city construction, banks, family service and other major service industries went on a nationwide strike on Sep. 2nd, leaving great impact on people’s life and dozens of billion dollars losses. This is the largest strike occurred after Indian Prime Minister Modi took office. Analysts say this strike targets on a series of economic reform policy initiated by Modi, including Labor Law reform and SOE reform, etc. This is also a great challenge for the determination of Modi’s government on the reform.
Public service sector “taking the lead”
Most of the strikers are from public service sectors including public transportation, state-owned banks, city construction, and so on. The trade union which organized the strike demanded the government not to launch reform that could violate the rights of labors and asked for raising social security, reducing privatizations, bringing more investment to state-owned organizations, etc. Modi had been advocating reform on the labor law which was formed during colonial period since he took office. For example, Modi’s reform was planned to allow enterprises to dismiss workers or announce bankrupt more easily. The plan was strongly opposed by some trade unions, especially public service sectors. Strikers from Western Bangal and Kerala where leftist parties have great influence took a larger proportion. The strike also reveals that these traditional regions where still influenced by planned economy contain the greatest resistance to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Erase the “brand” of planned economy
India has exercised planned economy for a long period of time since its independency. The national economic planning committee was responsible for making economic policies. Public department and some SOE held very high rank in India in the old days. But the situation changed in 1990s as the beginning of India’s marketization. Modi’s government has been encouraging private enterprises to take part in the countries’ economic activities since it came to power last year, and it also removed the national economy planning committee, which have objectively threatened the status of public department and state-owned enterprises. Moreover, as the country’s economy has been growing for a couple of years, there’s a big polarization of the rich and poor, which leads to serious social problems, and also this big strike.