Bengaluru: Is it Really the Best City to Live in India?

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Bengaluru - Canvas

Bengaluru, earlier and sometimes even now known as Bangalore, takes the no. 1 spot in the Ease of Living Survey 2020, effectively making it the best city to live in India. We look at different parameters that will help you decide whether it is suitable for you.

Ease of Living Scores

With Quality of Life at 55.67, Economic Ability at 78.82 and Sustainability at 59.97, the Ease of Living score without Citizen Perception Survey (CPS) comes to 43.3. The city scores 78 on the CPS score taking its weighted Ease of Living score to 66.7.

Pan-India ranking for Bengaluru across the four categories of the Ease of Living Index:

  • Quality of Life: 17
  • Economic Ability: 1
  • Sustainability: 20
  • Citizen Perception Survey (CPS): 42

The low CPS score underlies two contradictory aspects of the city. On one hand, it shows that it has quite a long way to go in terms of meeting the expectations of its residents. Indeed, this can be seen in the Municipal Performance Index (MPI), where the city ranks at the 31st spot. And on the other hand, the CPS score hints at an educated and aware population which in turn points to strong public discourse and even an active intelligentsia. This is likely due to the emergence of the city as a global centre (at least when one thinks of software – and you can see this in its no. 1 rank in Economic Ability) which means people are more globally aware.

An interesting thing to note if you like to ponder these things, the lower CPS score of Bangalore can be contrasted with that of Chennai which even though it ranks at the fourth spot in Ease of Living, ranks much higher in CPS (ranking at no. 15). You can see a detailed breakdown here.

Weather

The city has a maximum average temperature of 32.8 °C and a minimum average temperature of 19 °C during the summer season, while in winter this temperature ranges between 29.6 °C and 14.6 °C. It sees approx. 37.7 inches of rainfall (951 mm) with a total of 98 rainy days in the year. The maximum average humidity is 79%.

Weather Breakdown Around the Year

MeasureJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg. Temp °C20.722.822.826.625.523.222.422.222.42220.920.1
Max. Temp °C27.429.629.632.831.227.526.426.126.726.425.725.8
Min. Temp °C14.616.116.120.82120.219.819.41918.416.715.1
Rainfall (mm)477451311261341371251476523
Rainfall (in)0.20.30.31.85.255.35.44.95.82.60.9
Humidity (%)56%46%46%51%65%76%78%79%78%78%72%65%
Rainy Days (nos)111511141515121373
Avg. Sun Hours (hrs)8.99.89.810.69.56.86.15.76.47.27.17.5

Infrastructure – Roads, Traffic, Connectivity

Bengaluru is known for its traffic. When the IT boom happened during the 1990s and 2000s, the pace of economic development outpaced the infrastructure development. The problem occurs due to many issues but primarily because the city road network is radial in nature, i.e. converging in the centre.

Radial nature of Bangalore roads – A congested centre with a mesh of small narrow roads

Bengaluru is an organic city and not a planned one. It was a small town that grew big, radiating outwards from its centre. Consequently, it suffers from congestion as what happens when an old unplanned city expands at a faster pace than infrastructure can keep up. The main arterial road of the city, MG Road (what else?), is wide but the roads that lead to it are narrow, winding relics of a nostalgic past.

Some of its roads are now specialised hubs for commercial and entertainment activities. MG Road, Brigade Road and Commercial Street are now shopping, recreation and corporate areas while the B.V.K Iyengar Road is a retail destination. All the roads leading in and out of these main roads are old and narrow. This leads to traffic snarls on an everyday basis.

Hebbal Flyover: Constructed to reduce traffic on one of the city’s traffic choke points

The Karnataka government recently unveiled a Rs 6,000 crore plan with the outlay spread over 3 years for basic infrastructure development but you should keep your fingers crossed as past projects such as the Bangalore Metro Rail have not been able to keep pace with requirements. The city needs a future-oriented master plan that focuses on both above-ground and underground options if it ever is to solve its traffic (and related) problems.

Infrastructure – Electricity

The electricity in Bengaluru is managed by Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company (Bescom). When compared to the rest of the country, the situation is much better though maintenance and upgrades do tend to create a ruckus every now and then.

If you are in the city to work and stay in a new apartment-type residential society, then you will likely not experience any power shortage due to the backup generators both at office and home. If you are staying in a standalone house or apartment on the other hand or want to start your own business in a cheaper commercial complex, then having power backups will have to feature somewhere in your to-do list.

Health

Bengaluru has better hospital infrastructure than most other cities in the country. It has a healthcare score below 50 (out of 100), in the Ease of Living Report, much lower than the national high of around 80 (for reference see page 116 of the EOL Report).

This can also be seen on a state level. Karnataka ranks 13th in Niti Aayog’s Health Index, with a score of 57.93, though the state ranks considerably lower at Governance and Information ranking 26th in the country among all states and UTs.

The city ranks 3rd in the list of eight cities covered by the real estate portal, Housing.com, in its report on the state of Indian Healthcare. The report estimates the number of beds per 1,000 people for the city at 3.6.

Numbeo, a site that creates scores on different parameters based on visitor survey, ranks the city at no. 12 out of a total of 19 cities in its healthcare index. On the India Fit Report 2020, published by the fitness tracking company GOQii, the city ranks 4th in overall health.

Karnataka Vidhana Soudha
Karnataka Vidhana Soudha

Education

The city scores high on education, perhaps due to mostly being a service-oriented market and historically being a centre of learning. Most of the residential areas have schools nearby, becoming sort of a hub for housing projects.

Schools

The education strength of Bengaluru in schooling can also be seen in pan-India school ratings such as the EducationWorld rankings. The city features prominently in this list with institutions such as Inventure Academy, The Valley School and the Mallya Aditi International School featuring in the top 10 co-educational schools in the country.

The city has had a strong school infrastructure even before independence. Quite a few schools in the city were established in the 19th century with the oldest being United Mission School founded way back in 1834 as Wesleyan Canarese School.

Representational Image

Colleges and Universities

The primary university in the city is Bangalore University with over 500 affiliated colleges and more than 3 lakh students. M. Visvesvaraya established the state’s first engineering college, the Government Engineering College (now called University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering or UVCE for short) in 1917.

Many prominent higher education institutions such as the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Statistical Institute, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, National Law School of India University and Indian Institute of Management Bangalore are based in the city.

Housing

Bengaluru scores considerably high on the Housing and Shelter score in the Ease of Living Index scoring above 80 (out of 100).

The online property portal, Makaan.com, reports that top localities include Koramangala (average cost: Rs 5,820 per sq ft), Rajaji Nagar (average cost: Rs 11,100 per sq ft), Ashok Nagar (average cost: Rs 22,780 per sq ft) and Malleshwaram (average cost: Rs 12,200 per sq ft).

The website further classifies different areas for rent and for buying. The list can be summarised as below:

  • North Bengaluru:
    • Rental: Hebbal, Yelahanka and Kasturi Nagar
    • Purchase: Horamavu, Devanahalli and Yelahanka
  • South Bengaluru:
    • Rental: Koramangala, JP Nagar and Ejipura
    • Purchase: Jigani, Anekal City and Chandapura Anekal Road
  • East Bengaluru:
    • Rental:  HSR Layout, Whitefield and Indiranagar
    • Purchase: Whitefield, Hoskote and Varthur have most stock
  • West Bengaluru:
    • Rental: Rajaji Nagar, Yeshwantpur and Malleshwaram
    • Purchase: Nagarbhavi, Rajaji Nagar and Chamarajpet
  • Central Bengaluru
    • Rental:  Frazer Town, Benson Town and Vasanth Nagar
    • Purchase: Magadi Road, Frazer Town and Benson Town

Arts and Culture

The city has a thriving arts and culture scene. It hosts an international art festival called Art Bangalore. It also has India’s only dedicated cartoon gallery set up by the Indian Institute of Cartoonists (though in a basement and the domain for the institute is up for sale).

Theatre and films play a prominent role with the city being the centre of the Kannada film industry. Places like the Ranga Shankara and Chowdiah Memorial Hall regularly hold English and foreign language theatres and amateur film screenings.

Carnatic music has a strong hold here since the modern city was established by Kempe Gowda in the 16th century as a part of the Vijayanagar Empire where Carnatic music flourished.

The city has its own genre of rock music called Bangalore Rock. Some bands you can check out are Raghu Dixit Project, Kryptos, Swarathma and Agam.

Swarathma – Rang Zinda Hain (Official Music Video)

Bengaluru also hosts the Aero India biennial air show in the month of February at the Yelahanka Air Force Station. The 2021 show showcased a flypast by a HAL Tejas fighter of the IAF and a Rockwell B-1 Lancer nuclear bomber of the US Air Force that had flown in from its base at Ellsworth in the USA.

Bangalore Air Show - Is Bengaluru the best city to live in India?
Daredevilry at Aero India

In other words, Bangalore has a strong arts and cultural heritage and continues to promote different forms of activities through the year. So, you will likely not miss out on anything even though the city may not compare to Delhi and Mumbai, both of which have perhaps a more vibrant and layered arts and culture scene.

Conclusion

In most lists, Bengaluru makes it to the top 10. Despite its infamous traffic, the city scores strongly on several parameters that make it one of the best places to live in India.

References

Cover Image: Art by LonelyCanopy (Pixabay)

Other Images (Pixabay): Hebbal Flyover, Falaknuma Palace, Glentree Academy, Bangalore Air Show