Ever imagined what it would be like to live in one of the cheapest cities in the world? Well, it seems Bengalureans do, as a recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit Report places namma ooru as the fifth cheapest city in the world to live in. Just a few years ago (2014) cities like Mumbai and Delhi were considered the cheapest in the world because of factors like cheap street food and a low cost of living.
People living in the Garden City are somewhat baffled by this, as for them, the bustling metropolis is not that cheap. So is Bengaluru really a cheap city to stay in, considering the amount of money you need to pay for commute and the real estate prices? With Singapore being the most expensive on the list, and the ooru sitting comfortable after Damascus in Syria, Caracus in Venezuala, Almaty in Kazakhstan and Lagos in Nigeria, we ask the city’s up and about junta if living in the city is cheap or not.
Madhumita Natrajan, a young professional and videographer says, “Being a Bengalurean who has seen the city grow geographically and economically, and having travelled extensively within the country, I disagree with the survey. We pay twice the amount for food, transport, beer and almost everything compared to cities like Hyderabad, Chennai and many others up north. I presume it is so, because, Bengaluru is the Silicon City and constitutes more than 50 per cent IT professionals who are paid pretty solid pay packets.”
The report surveyed more than 400 individual prices across 160 products, which include food, drink, clothing, household, private school fees, cost of domestic help and other services. Moeedul Hussain, who moved from Assam and has been living in the city for 15 years also does not agree with the survey, saying, “Well if this ranking is only a comparison among the costly cities, I may agree for once. However, if it is an overall comparison of different cities across the globe, this can’t be real. I mean, check the rentals in Bengaluru; be it house rents, private transportation, real estate costs, cost of living is skyrocketing. This listing seems very contradicting to me; rather Bengaluru should be called as the fifth most expensive city to live in the world!”
Many disagree with the fact that Bengaluru is or can be the cheapest city to live in but in terms of economic surveys, it does lie way above others. The Economist report claims, “To an extent, this remains true, and Bangalore, Chennai, Karachi and New Delhi feature among the 10 cheapest locations surveyed. India is tipped for rapid economic expansion, but in per head terms wage and spending growth it will remain low.” And they argue the reason for this is the “high-income inequality” in India.”
But neo-politician Anil Shetty is optimistic, “It’s definitely good news. Unlike many cities like Mumbai, at least Bengaluru rentals are not so high. Majorly, a few factors like low home rentals, Metro and BMTC transport, roadside eateries, and some free government schemes, and also the inhabitant’s very own nature of conservative living helps Bengaluru remain as a cheap city to live in. In past two decades, the average household income has risen. Large portions of the population have health insurance to cover health care costs too.”