Glitzy tech capital Bangalore just earned a new sobriquet, the costliest Indian city. An analysis of the Reserve Bank of India’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows that Bangalore is a couple of notches higher than the all-India cost-of-living average, with financial capital Mumbai just a shade behind.
The CPI is a measure of a standard basket of items, including food, clothing and transport, across cities. In the price race, Delhi is comfortably placed very low in the table, deriving its cushion from the subsidies galore it receives from the Centre. Take, for instance, LPG cylinders, which is a must-have in middle-class families.
According to Bharat Petroleum’s latest figures, Bangalore currently pays Rs 415 for a 14.5-kg refill, Kolkata Rs 405, Mumbai Rs 402 (expected to go up after budget), Delhi Rs 399 and Chennai Rs 393.50. Bangalore’s CPI peaks in the national chart at a whopping 200, followed closely by Mumbai at 199, Kolkata 184 and Delhi a distant 181. The national CPI average is 198.
For homemakers like Koramangala resident Aditi Rao, life in Bangalore is becoming tougher with each passing day. “Frequent hikes in the prices of basic items put our home budget out of sync every month,” said Rao, 34.
Budget analyst Ravi Duggal, who has lived in Mumbai and Delhi, observed that the high cost of living in Bangalore has come about as a result of the IT industry. He said there were different reasons for differential living costs among cities, including the aspiration of people. Talking of India’s two leading cities, he said, “Where education is concerned, for instance, Delhi has more public education facilities than Mumbai.”
What makes Mumbai equally expensive? “There are many factors, the chief being high rentals. Over 40% of the salary of an average Mumbaikar goes into paying rent,” pointed out economist Vibhuti Patel of SNDT University.