Asia

Workers strike across India to protest economic reforms

  • Indian workers participate in a rally during a nationwide strike called by trade unions in Hyderabad, India, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. The strike has been called against government's alleged anti labor policies. Activists also demanded higher minimum wages and provision of social security for workers from unorganized sectors. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

    Indian workers participate in a rally during a nationwide strike called by trade unions in Hyderabad, India, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. The strike has been called against government's alleged anti labor policies. Activists also demanded higher minimum wages and provision of social security for workers from unorganized sectors. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)  (The Associated Press)

  • Indian workers participate in a rally during a nationwide strike called by trade unions, in Jammu, India, Sept. 2, 2016.The strike has been called against the government's alleged anti labor policies. Activists also demanded higher minimum wages and provision of social security for workers from unorganized sectors. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)

    Indian workers participate in a rally during a nationwide strike called by trade unions, in Jammu, India, Sept. 2, 2016.The strike has been called against the government's alleged anti labor policies. Activists also demanded higher minimum wages and provision of social security for workers from unorganized sectors. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)  (The Associated Press)

  • Indian government and bank employees shout slogans as they participates in a protest during a nationwide strike called by trade unions in Mumbai, India, Friday, Sept. 02, 2016. The strike has been called against the government's alleged anti labor policies. Activists also demanded higher minimum wages and provision of social security for workers from unorganized sectors. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

    Indian government and bank employees shout slogans as they participates in a protest during a nationwide strike called by trade unions in Mumbai, India, Friday, Sept. 02, 2016. The strike has been called against the government's alleged anti labor policies. Activists also demanded higher minimum wages and provision of social security for workers from unorganized sectors. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)  (The Associated Press)

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.