Speakers at the protest condemned the diesel price hike, warning that his would have a cascading effect on prices of essential commodities and further fuel inflation

Central trade unions held a demonstration at Jantar Mantar here on Saturday to protest against the Government’s decision to hike diesel price, curtailment of subsidy in LPG, and allowing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail trade. The unions that protested include the BMS, AITUC, CITU, AICCTU, AIUTUC, TUCC and UTUC.

Speakers at the protest condemned the diesel price hike, warning that his would have a cascading effect on prices of essential commodities and further fuel inflation.

“Withdrawal of subsidy on LPG will hurt the budget of millions of people who are already reeling under burden of soaring prices. What is worse it has been done after steep increase in water and electricity charges by State governments. The entry of FDI in single brand and multi–brand retail trade will take away livelihood of several of millions of Indians,” a statement released by the unions said.

The corresponding creation of jobs by the corporate sector in the retail trade would not be able to offset this large-scale job loss in the unorganised retail trade, the unions said. The leaders said the recession was already affecting the common man’s ability to buy goods and with inflation this would go down further. The unions gave a call to workers everywhere to “protest in a suitable manner” all over the country for the rollback of these decisions.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) on Saturday called upon small retailers to take to the streets in protest again the Central Government’s decision to allow FDI in their sector. It said the FDI infiltration into retail sector would badly impact the livelihood of vendors and small retailers and the massive contribution of this section to city, state and national economies would reduce drastically.

NASVI national coordinator Arbind Singh accused the Government of protecting the interests of realtors and mall developers. “FDI would ruin the retail and help the realty sector as the move would create demand of mall and real estate developers for retail space. While at one level the UPA Government was introducing the Bill to protect livelihood of street vendors, on the other it was allowing multinational retail giants to further threaten the livelihood of vendors,” he said.

Mr. Singh said the Government was not coming out of its so-called “policy paralysis,” but continued to remain “politically confused”.

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