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Should strikes be banned in India?
April 21 2024

A strike is a protest by people to make the state give in to their demands. It can also be to express their agreement or disagreement with a certain idea. In Japan, workers work overtime to show their resentment toward the management. On the other hand, in India, they leave all their work and take to the streets to show their discontent. Strikes are used in extreme situations when no other form of negotiation with the government work.

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Strikes are a form of freedom of expression. But, the Constitution of India provides its citizens with freedom of speech, not freedom of a strike. Instead of solving people’s problems, the government uses gas bombs to disperse the crowd. Such protests have become very common in the country. We recently saw Bharat Bandh as a protest against caste-based reservations in jobs and education. They allow the grieving party to voice their opinions on judgment and decisions by the government which is not in their favour. But can all the decisions be in favour of every person?

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Some discussions and rulings are welcome by one set of people and unfavourable by the other set. If there are a billion people in the country, there ought to be at least a million opinions. The government can not fulfil all the million wishes but can make sure each of the billion people gets a chance to fair living. By conducting strikes we are harming our own growth. Strikes slow down the economy, make growth sluggish, and scares away possible foreign investors with instability.

What happens during a strike? The production in factories stops, inventories pile up, the transportation sector comes to a halt, the stores are clogged, and the workers have no work to do. They lose on their daily wage which is their bread and butter. They are under threat of losing their jobs. The various resources assigned to take the country forward come to a standstill and lay waste.

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India is a developing country, which means that it is still haunted by unemployment and poverty. There are so many skilled candidates out there who can easily replace the protesting ones in their current jobs. This can be done if the protest is against the management. But when the strike is against the government’s decision what is the way out? One way can be that we can have petitions – a written form of discontent signed by the protesters and submit it to the government. The logic behind this form of complaint is that it is peaceful, doesn’t harm the economy, and makes sure that the voice is heard. Just imagine – instead of 500 people marching and leaving their work, 500 signed applications to the decision-makers expressing their resentment. Anyway, the Indian government works faster with written proofs and complaints, so why not give it a try?

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The person who suffers the most from all this is the common man. He does not possess the money power enjoyed by politicians and big businessmen, and neither does he have the muscle power of the workers. He is stranded by the miseries of not having essential services for his daily life. A strike disrupts the routine and deters progress. India is a country of strikes. They are one of the main reasons for the country’s slow development. There should be strict rules against strikes. They cause turmoil in the economy and innocent people suffer.

The law has enough provisions to settle disputes. Such frequent strikes result in partial paralysis of civil life and cause disturbance to the public. The Supreme Court of India has already banned strikes on government employees stating that they are the operational branches and that if they don’t perform the government will not be able to succeed. Also, the public’s inconvenience was taken into regard.

Strikes cannot be justified in the current scenario of the nation. It does more harm than good and the suffering party is the society at large. We, as educated individuals, should look at the bigger picture and focus our energies on the development of the country. It is very normal to have dissonance. But, it can be resolved by the people working more diligently and by taking up the relevant issues with the authority through a proper channel of communication. Take on social media platforms like Twitter to raise your voice. We all know that all our elected leaders are very active on the platform. The style of the protests needs to be changed and made more effective. We do not just have to be seen, we have to make sure we are heard.

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Rahul Singh

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