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Bengaluru, a city of opportunities where divides also exist

Karnataka Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah

Karnataka Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah   | Photo Credit: BHAGYA PRAKASH K

Karnataka has seen a rapid urban expansion in terms of area and population in recent decades. This was the result of growing economic opportunities, owing to service sector growth, in a city like Bengaluru, and the negative real agriculture growth.

The cost of input in agriculture increased drastically for various reasons while the returns remained low, throwing many agricultural labourers out of jobs. In search of opportunities people migrated to Bengaluru.

But the benefits due to opportunities in urban areas were clearly demarcated based on the skilled and unskilled/informal opportunities.

Skilled employees had higher benefits in terms of salary, housing and savings, while the real wage growth for unskilled employees from private sector did not match the inflation that could help them meet urban necessities.

This, along with uncontrolled migration from rural areas to the city, created a scarcity of the resources in terms of decent housing, health and education infrastructure, water, and drainage system.

These factors, along with caste inequities that exist in Indian society, created inequalities. Statistics will reveal that the worst affected shall be those who fall under inter-sectionality of gender, caste and class conflicts.

The demographic concentration of minorities also throws light on the nature of urban poverty and social injustice. Muslims, especially, are concentrated more in urban areas than in rural areas in the form of ghettos. Prejudice against certain sections, including Muslim community, has further contributed to their poverty in a city like Bengaluru. We also have to recognise the role of institutional corruption in aggravating the state of poverty.

This, I believe, is the question that needs to be addressed while talking of the policy needs of Bengaluru.

(Siddaramaiah is Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and a former Chief Minister of Karnataka.)

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 1:48:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/a-city-of-opportunities-where-divides-also-exist/article31881185.ece

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