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Learning English - Words in the News
06 June, 2008 - Published 11:20 GMT
Fuel protests in India
Protestors in India

Protests against the higher cost of fuel are continuing in India for a second day. Now, the Indian Prime Minister has called on politicians to spend less, so the money saved can be put to use for the country's poor. Karishma Vaswani reports from Mumbai.

Listen to the story

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, is calling it a moral duty. He's advised his government ministries to cut costs with the savings going to help the poor. The plan is to cut spending by as much as 1.4 billion dollars. The austerity measures include trimming back on overseas trips by bureaucrats, and a ban on meetings and conferences at five star hotels.

The belt tightening comes as India's government was criticised by voters and opposition parties for raising the price of fuel more than was expected earlier in the week. Angry consumers have taken to the streets in the states of West Bengal and Kerala. Indian TV channels are reporting that protests have also broken out in Tamil Nadu and Indore.

Acknowledging that the fuel price rise was a deeply unpopular move, Indian officials are hoping the austerity measures will signal to voters that the government is doing its part too. The country's governing coalition party faces a number of elections this year and a national one before May next year. Whether India's voters are convinced that the government is sincere will likely be reflected in the polling booth.

Karishma Vaswani, BBC, Mumbai

Listen to the words

a moral duty
something that should be done not for political reasons but because it is the right thing to do

The austerity measures
The different things that the politicians have been asked to do to save money

trimming back on overseas trips
not spending as much on or going on as many foreign trips

The belt tightening
The saving of money

taken to the streets
protested in public

broken out in
taken place in

a deeply unpopular move
a decision which was very very unpopular

doing its part
trying to help

in the polling booth
in the result of the election

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