As revealed by the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) survey - Worldwide Cost of Living 2018 - three Indian cities are amongst the cheapest in the world. New Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai are amongst the world's 10 cheapest cities, while Singapore is the most expensive. The survey mentions that South Asian cities, particularly those in India and Pakistan offer the best value for money. Karachi has also been mentioned as one of the cheapest cities.
"India is tipped for rapid economic expansion, but in per-head terms, wage and spending growth will remain low. Income inequality means that low wages are the norm, limiting household spending and creating many tiers of pricing as well as strong competition from a range of retail sources," the report noted. The report noted that cheap supply of goods in vast quantities from rural producers, as well as government subsidies on some products have kept prices down, especially when compared with Western standards.
Joining the Indian cities are Damascus, Caracas and Almaty, capitals of Syria, Venezuela and Kazakhstan in first, second and third positions. They are followed by Lagos on fourth, Bengaluru on fifth, Karachi on sixth, Algiers on seventh, Chennai on eighth, Bucharest on ninth and finally New Delhi on the tenth spot.
The report further said, "Although the Indian subcontinent remains structurally cheap, instability is becoming an increasingly prominent factor in lowering the relative cost of living of a location. This means that there is a considerable element of risk in some of the world's cheapest cities."
Singapore has been declared the world's most expensive city for the fifth consecutive year, followed by Paris, Zurich and Hong Kong. Oslo is the fifth most expensive city in the world, Geneva sixth, Seoul seventh, Copenhagen on eighth, Tel Aviv on ninth and Sydney on tenth.
The Worldwide Cost of Living is a biannual Economist Intelligence Unit survey that compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. These include food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.
(With PTI inputs)