Is Bangalore holding its own? For years Bangalore was synonymous with India and IT. Bangalore put India on the world business map. Is the city losing its competitive edge?
The metamorphosis of Bangalore
Bangalore boomed to the tune of the thousands of software professionals that descended on the city in the 90s. The sleepy, laidback city with a conservative outlook suddenly had a new, cosmopolitan face. The days took on urgency, the nights grew a life and the name was on the world map. The residents, deeply shocked, protested. But when it didn’t go away, they simply shrugged and joined the party.
The intelligence, innovation, quality and ease of working caught the world’s fancy. Off-shoring became the norm, and “Bangalored” was a dictionary word. Add to this the relatively low cost of living, available space and housing, balmy climate and the seemingly endless supply of skilled manpower to complete the picture of business heaven.
The work culture in the core industry is fantastic. These guys gave India pride in quality of work when ”Made in India” was a label to be disparaged.
Many things gone amiss
This perfect picture has smudged just a shade recently. The people haven’t changed, nor have the businesses. Unfortunately, neither has the city. The government is unable to keep up with the demands of industry for more infrastructure. Politics prevents the implementation of potentially unpopular schemes. The World Bank rates Bangalore below Hyderabad for doing business.
The roads are terrible, housing is being overwhelmed, cost of living is rising to ridiculous levels, there’s no public transport, the power situation is becoming troublesome and the city is awfully polluted.
The infrastructure needs of the IT-related industry are few. However, the lack is felt more by many who offer manufacturing support, and those who want to start other businesses. The perceived lack of government backing is more galling.
This has led the industry to look at newer places such as Chandigarh and Pune. Several other states are rolling up their sleeves.
Will the government wake up and do something fast? Or will other towns grab Bangalore’s missed opportunities? Is the Bangalore work environment still the easiest to slip into for a returning NRI or an expat?