Business Today

The top five cities

However, it scores a distant 11th in the ‘Life after Work’ index — not because of a lack of malls, restaurants or movie theatres of which it has plenty — but because of its shoddy roads and inconsistent power supply.

Print Edition: June 28, 2009

Here’s a peek at what separates the top five cities from the rest of the pack.

1st RANK:

All grown up

World-class feel: Gurgaon has attracted yuppies and MNCs by the droves
World-class feel: Gurgaon has attracted yuppies and MNCs by the droves
As little as two decades ago, Gurgaon took its first baby steps from a sleepy little hamlet in Haryana to becoming a bustling township, snapping up Delhi’s corporate gentry as its tenants. Today, the new kid on the block is attracting hordes of multinationals, bringing in their wake swish restaurants and hotels.

  • 59%of residents said Gurgaon provided them with much better jobs that matched their skills compared to other cities
  • 39%of residents polled said that public transportation was much worse than other cities
Hard to believe, but take a drive down the recently constructed fivelane, world-class expressway to Gurgaon 29 km away—make sure you stay well behind manic tempos, SUVs and motorcycles weaving across lanes like deranged Formula 1 drivers—and you will soon pass a clutch of glittering buildings that are home to some of the biggest corporations in the world. What’s Gurgaon got that Delhi doesn’t? “I would say it’s got the feel of an international city—barring some potholes of weak infrastructure,” says real estate consultant Anshuman Magazine, Chairman and MD, CB Richard Ellis South Asia.

This world class feel first came about in the ’90s when the Haryana government initiated a favourable tax policy to lure companies. Private firms began constructing top notch buildings. Proximity to Delhi’s airport was a bonus. Soon, Gurgaon became the world’s outsourcing hub—Pioneer GE Capital International Services (GECIS) set up shop in 1997 and a tsunami of other BPO companies followed. Today, many of India’s private airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet call the city home.

There’s more to Gurgaon than just its tax policies. In the wake of this corporate migration, the city has attracted thousands of young professionals who find that living, working and playing in Gurgaon is cheaper, more convenient and fun than Delhi. “There appears to be a vibrant cultural takeoff here,” says Manoj Madhusudanan, VP- Business Research, Evalueserve. Ajay Bijli, for instance, debuted his bowling alley BluO here rather than Delhi. Terroir, perhaps India’s finest French restaurant, is not in Delhi, but Gurgaon.

Gurgaon is also India’s ‘mall’ capital, selling Versace and Gucci in places where buffaloes once roamed. But malls bring traffic—lots of it— and Gurgaon’s roads are in bad shape and public transportation, a mess. That hasn’t stopped people and industry from flocking here.

Life at work (Rank 1)
Per capita income: Rs 1,22,212 p.a. (3rd highest)
Employment Growth Rate: 11%
Credit growth rate: 25% (2nd highest)

After work (Rank 11)
59% have income between Rs 3 and 10 lakh (highest)
43 malls (3rd highest)
100% of households have electricity (highest)

Shamni Pande

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