Aug 9, 2008

India - Surat Households most prosperous

SURAT: After the bombs were found in Surat last week, here is reason for a beaming smile. Surti households have been declared most prosperous in the country by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and Future Capital Research's Roopa Purushothaman in their latest study.

The average annual household income (AHI) in the diamond city is Rs 4.57 lakh - the highest in the country. It has displaced Chandigarh in a list of 20 cities because of its lower cost of living.

Gujarat, in fact, is the only state with two cities in the top five - Ahmedabad has been ranked fifth, ahead of Mumbai and Delhi. "The ranking is natural, given Gujarat's growth. Surat's employment generation is equal to many fast-growing cities of the world," says Dr YK Alagh, economist and former member of Planning Commission.

The study says Surat's AHI is almost equal to China's per capita income of 2007 and double the national per capita income. Even its GDP growth of 11.5 per cent for the last consecutive years is the fastest in the country. Here is why Surti households have bulging pockets. The city has become the heart of diamond polishing and textile manufacturing globally. It processes eight out of 10 diamonds polished in the world, accounts for 80 per cent of India's Rs 80,000 crore gems and jewellery exports and employs nearly seven lakh people in diamond cutting and polishing. Surat's Rs 45,000-crore textile industry accounts for 20 per cent of India's total textile output and provides employment to eight lakh people. Given the boom, people from across the country have been migrating to it.

The 2001 census showed that Surat had the fastest population growth nationally at 62 per cent. "The study has shown that Gujarat is more prosperous than 90 per cent of the country," says former IIM-A director Bakul Dholakia.

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