The all-India strike by central trade unions affecting trade, transport, key manufacturing facilities and banking services may cause an estimated loss of Rs 16,000-18,000 crore to the country's economy, an industry body said on Friday.
Normal life in various parts of the country was partly affected today by the one-day strike by trade unions with banking, transport and coal mining being among the most impacted, while hundreds of workers were detained in Haryana, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
According to Assocham, reports of production halts in state-owned and private sector firms along with halt of transport services would damage the pace of growth.
"Trade, transport and hotels form a major part of the country's GDP. The other major component to the GDP and GVA is the entire package of financial services including banking. Both these key segments have been crippled by the strike," Assocham Secretary General DS Rawat said.
He said the best course for the trade unions should have been to sit across the negotiating table with the government to reach a middle ground.
"The industry is not against fair wages and a decent living standard for the workforce. But the demand for minimum wages should be balanced enough not to lead to a high cost economy," Rawat said.
The strike would also hit outward shipments, the chamber said. "For one, in several facilities the manufacturing has been affected. Secondly, in the absence of financial and banking transaction, the entire supply chain gets affected. Then, with transport getting hit, the shipment for exports also gets hit," Assocham said.
Banking services have been affected throughout the country as public sector banks' employees largely remained off-duty. Private banks, however, continued their operations normally.