As the nationwide strike disrupted air and rail services and banking operations in India, industry chambers on Thursday warned that the economic cost of the shutdown would be incalculable, though Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the loss would be 'marginal.'
"Today's strike has paralysed the economic and industrial activities all over the country in a substantial manner, the losses of which are difficult to be measured now," industry chamber Assocham President M K Sanghi said in a statement in New Delhi.
He indicated that such 'uncalled for' shutdowns would spurn investors, saying "a bandh always amounts to greater stumbling blocks and large barriers towards the economic progress of India."
"Business transactions and economic activities were hugely disrupted, the damage of which is massive not only in monetary terms as such activities always send adverse signals which are essentially bad for developing economies like India," he said.
FICCI President Onkar S Kanwar said the strike would give a 'rude shock' to India's image as a global economic power.
"At a time when India is getting increasingly integrated with the rest of the world, a strike by workers in major infrastructure and financial services will send negative signals overseas," he said.
However, Chidambaram told reporters after a Cabinet meeting that the loss on account of the strike would only be marginal, though he agreed it would be difficult to estimate the level of actual loss.