Workers strike across India to protest economic reforms


NEW DELHI (AP) - Workers across India are on strike to protest economic reforms including a rise in the minimum wage for unskilled laborers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government says the reforms are needed to boost growth. But many labor unions say the minimum wage hike should be double what the government is offering.

Some states including Kerala as well as the territory of Delhi already have minimum wage levels that are higher than the new monthly targets announced this week from 9,100 rupees to 13,598 rupees, or $136 to $204.

The unions say 180 million workers participated in Friday's strike, but the figure could not be independently verified. In some states, all transportation and business halted, streets were deserted and offices shuttered. Elsewhere, the effects were limited.

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