Surveys are a great asset to modern society that help to understand trends that can be used for policy formulation, future predictions, and understand behavioural patterns. However, not all surveys are an asset to be relied upon or in some cases believable. 

 

Recently, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released its Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2017 and four India cities are featured in the top ten cheapest cities in the world. The cities that have made it to this list are Bengaluru in the third position, then Chennai in the sixth place, Mumbai in the seventh position and then New Delhi in the tenth position. 

 

This report covered 133 countries, and the ranks of the Indian cities seem unbelievable considering that Dhaka and Kathmandu are ranked more expensive cities than all the four Indian cities. 

 

According to this list, the most expensive city in the world is Singapore, and New York is ninth most expensive city behind Osaka and Seoul. Interestingly, in the top 10 most expensive cities, 5 are cities in Asia.

 

This bi-annual survey is prepared after comparing above 400 individual prices across 160 services and products which include clothing, food, drinking, personal care items, household supplies, utility bills, home rent, transportation, domestic help, recreational costs, etc.

 

While talking about cost of living regional director for Asia at the EIU, Simon Baptist pointed out that the exchange rate, government policies and commodity prices are the key driving factors, as quoted by CNBC. 

 

About India’s cost of living scenario, Baptist said that after demonetisation inflation sharply dropped as people postponed their purchase plans. Though, it was expected to rise again as an impact of cash ban but, government's spending on infrastructure kept the food prices low. 

 

"Something that could make a big difference in India actually is the improvement that seems not be happening in food chain management — so say better refrigeration, improvement in electricity supply and refrigerated transport mean food prices should, over the next few years, become a bit less sensitive to fluctuations in the weather," CNBC quoted him as saying. Low wages in the service sector in India also make non-tradable good (water supply, electricity, real estate, all public services, etc.) cheaper as compared to other cities, he added.

 

Despite all these, it is little more than hard to believe that Mumbai is cheaper than New Delhi or Kathmandu is expensive than Mumbai.