The nation-wide strike against the government decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and hike diesel prices is estimated to cause losses of Rs.12,500 crore (2.25 billion USD) to the Indian economy, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said on Thursday.
"Today's bandh (strike) has been disruptive for business and trade in many parts of the country. While an exact loss for the entire economy is not known, it can be estimated that almost Rs.12,500 crore has been the loss to the country in terms of disruptions in production and trade," the CII said.
The industry association said the government should not roll back the recent reform measures under political pressure.
"Good economics seldom makes for good politics and therefore, it is important to communicate to the masses the merit and necessity of the reform measures announced by the government," the CII said.
In a rare show of unity, leaders of the Communist parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came together to denounce the government's decision to hike diesel prices and allow foreign direct investments (FDI) in multi-brand retail trade.
Some allies of the UPA government, notably Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress are also protesting against the government's reforms decisions, but are not supporting the strike.
Adi Godrej, president, CII, expressed hope that parties across the political spectrum would work to ensure that the much needed economic reforms were carried out in the country.
"It is not often that bold measures are announced to take economic reforms to the next level and whenever such announcements have been made, there have been pain felt by many," Godrej said in a statement.
"But the merits of the reforms that were first initiated in the early nineties are there for everyone to see. Irrespective of whichever political party has been in the government since then, the reforms have not been reversed," he added.