From BBC News:

Millions of workers in India have held a nationwide strike in protest at government plans to privatise state-owned businesses. The one-day stoppage severely affected the banking, transport, insurance and mining sectors, and brought Calcutta to a virtual standstill as protesters marched through the streets…The strike was called by trade unions including the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and the Hind Mazdoor Sabha, who claimed about 40 million workers were participating in the walk-out….The government’s privatisation plans aim to raise 132 billion rupees ($2.75bn) by selling off state-run companies in the year ending March 2004….”We want a complete halt to privatisation and other economic policies that favour only the rich,” said Swadesh Dev Roye, leader of the National United Forum, an umbrella group of labour unions in state-run oil companies….The government has said labour reforms are needed to allow Indian industry to compete with countries such as China. And it claims privatisation is needed to bridge its increasing fiscal deficit. [21 May 2003]

Swadesh Dev Roye leader of the National United Forum, an umbrella group of labour unions in state-run oil companies claims that privitization will only help “the rich.” As a leader of a Union, he is clearly rich, but the privization policy will not favour him, as with less monopolies and more competition his union will have less power. This perhaps explains the real motivation for opposing privitization–smaller companies are harder to unionize.


Economically, India’s bloated state run industries should have never existed. Privatisation will make all productive Indians more prosperous but leaving them free from the chains imposed by the state.

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