With talks between the unions and the government failing, much of India has no option but to brace for the two-day Bharat Bandh on February 20 and 21.
The bandh has been called by Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and five other unions against what they term the anti-labour, anti-people policies of the government.
The unions are demanding a rise in employee wages as inflation, according to them, has been shooting up at an alarming rate.
Over 100 million workers are expected to participate in the bandh.
Azad Maidan in Mumbai will witness a joint rally by all the trade unions, who also plan out to take out a morcha to the Parliament in New Delhi.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) estimates that the economy will "take a big hit of Rs 15000-20000 crore from the nation-wide disruption in economic activity".
"The national economy, battling slowdown can ill-afford this situation. In fact, the strike would aggravate the price situation because of disruption in the supply line of essential commodities," said Rajkumar Dhoot President ASSOCHAM.
Banks (as many as nine banking unions are participating), government telephone providers (BSNL/MTNL), post offices and even cylinder delivery agencies might not function in most parts of the countries.
Hospitals, trains, state transport buses and taxis and autorickshaws (mostly) are expected to remain operational through the two days.