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Life Abroad: Delhi

The expression ‘it’s a small world’ seems to be more apt than ever. In today’s world, taking the step to move to another country is fairly commonplace. The mobile society we live in is constantly allowing for more flexibility in terms of global connectivity and is one of the reasons behind the TransferGo Blog’s Life Aboard series. In this instalment we look at Delhi.

Delhi is one of the most ancient cities in the world and one which offers a rich mix of cultures, history, and modern advancements. Delhi has been inhabited since the 6th century BC. For most of Delhi’s history it has served as a capital, although the various kingdoms and empires have changed numerous times. The city’s status as a capital has made Delhi an important cultural, political, and economic centre since its earliest days. The status has also lead to the city being ransacked, captured, burned, and rebuilt number of times.

Modern Delhi is a sprawling metropolis that consists of a cluster of numerous cities. This urban sprawl is not unique to modern times as remains of eight major cities have been discovered in Delhi. Delhi is the largest commercial centre in northern India and major hub for technology, telecommunications, hospitality, banking, media and tourism. Delhi is also a major manufacturing centre with electronics, home textiles, leather goods, pharmaceutical, and home consumables – all the leading industries.

A skilled workforce and low costs have made Delhi a desirable location for international businesses. Delhi’s growth and prosperity has come at a cost though. Until recently the World Health Organisation ranked Delhi as the most polluted city in the world. Changes in government policy have resulted in somewhat cleaner air and the city now ranks as the eleventh worst in the world. The air quality is drastically affected by auto and factory emissions and is the cause of more than 10,000 deaths a year.

The population of Delhi is more than 17 million and is one of the fastest growing cities in India. Much of the growth is attributed to native migration and a high birth rate. At one point, immigration to Delhi was fairly high. Over the past few years, migration by EU and US citizens has dropped considerably and even declined due to the aforementioned pollution and a fairly high crime rate. However Delhi does host a fairly large contingent of migrants from Africa, Afghanistan, China, Ukraine, Japan and South Korea.

Getting Around in Delhi

Delhi has a well-developed mass transit system. Buses are the most popular and take care of 60% of the city’s total demand. The growing metro system is modern and highly rated. The train carriages do have a tendency to be very crowded but the first car of each train is reserved for women only. Delhi is also a major hub of the Indian rail network and serves as Northern Railway’s headquarters.

Cost of Living

The low cost of living has played a significant role in both the appeal to international businesses and to immigration. Prices in Delhi are 63% lower than in London and 59% lower than in Berlin.

Sample prices (Prices are in euro not INR):

Meal casual or fast food restaurant 3.39
Milk 2.41
Loaf of Fresh Bread 0.32
Rice (1 lb.) 0.34
Dozen Eggs 0.84
One-way Local Transport Ticket 0.34
Monthly Local Transport Pass 12.21
Basic Monthly Utilities 52.16
1 bedroom City Centre Apartment 216.00
1 bedroom Apartment Outside of Centre 130.00
3 bedroom City Centre Apartment 559.00
3 bedroom Apartment Outside of Centre 320.00
Average Monthly Net Salary 581.00

Banking in Delhi

Banking in Delhi is fairly straightforward. As a major commercial and political hub Delhi is home to a large number of national and international banks. The largest Indian banks in Delhi are HDFC Bank, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank Limited, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank, Bank of Baroda, and Yes Bank.

To open an account it is necessary to complete an account opening form. Different forms are typically used for a Savings or a Current Account and many banks offer digital forms that can be downloaded. Note that many banks require a current photo with the completed account opening form.

The bank will also require documents which prove identity and residence.
Acceptable forms include:
 Passport
 Driving Licenses
 PAN card
 Ration Card
Bank fees can vary greatly so it pays to shop around. India is the world’s leader in terms of remittances received. The money transfer fees charged by India’s banks are quite high. TransferGo is proud to offer low cost, fixed exchange money transfers to clients in India.


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