Indian PM Manmohan Singh to start budget session in parliament as street protests turn violent

India's parliament will begin its key budget session today with the government appealing to opposition lawmakers to allow it to push forward an economic reform drive.

Ahead of the session, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for a productive and constructive debate.

In previous years, opposition MPs have resorted to tactics including shouting and shoving to halt proceedings.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is due to unveil the budget next week for the coming fiscal year starting in April.

It is expected to feature the most belt-tightening in years despite general elections looming next year.

India is striving to avert a ratings agency downgrade of its sovereign debt to junk status due to its deteriorating finances and sliding economic growth.

Yesterday, a strike in India turned violent

Protesting workers destroyed vehicles and damaged factories near the Indian capital, New Delhi, at the beginning of a two-day strike called by major trade unions over high prices and government reforms