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India PM Sparks Protests Over Fuel Hike

  • VOA News

Activists of Socialist Unity Center of India (SUCI) burn an effigy with a portrait of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a protest in Kolkata, India, September 15, 2012.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has defended economic reforms aimed at reducing his country's rising fiscal deficit and attracting foreign investment.

Singh on Saturday supported the government's move to raise diesel fuel prices by about 12 percent.

He approved an increase of nearly one cent per liter at a Cabinet meeting Thursday, sparking a backlash from some of his political allies and the opposition.

India's government also agreed Friday to open its retail market to large foreign companies. Opponents say that move will hurt the country's small retailers and cost many jobs.

India's economic growth is slowing and worries about the country's credit rating and inflation are rising.

The government has been under pressure to reduce its deficit by cutting spending for subsidies, including fuel.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.