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Non-metros Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru India's best cities

24 February 2016

Hyderabad offers the best quality of life in India, according to a study by human resources consulting firm Mercer.

The capital of Telangana dropped one position from its last year's 138 rank in Mercer's 2016 Quality of Living rankings because of frequent power disruptions and a heat wave that claimed 1,700 lives in 2015.

Other top Indian cities to be featured among the top 230 cities across the globe are Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai, ranked 144, 145 and 150, respectively.

Predictably, neither the national capital Delhi nor the financial capital Mumbai make the list, thanks to the increasing levels of pollution and traffic jams.

The rankings took into account factors such as political and social environment, medical and health care, public services, recreation facilities and natural environment, among others.

Mumbai might have once made the list when it was still called Bombay but a series of parochial-minded governments have put paid to its once cosmopolitan culture.

Over time, cities such as Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai have emerged as cities of choice because of factors including relatively low crime rate, less air pollution and greater number of international and reputable English-speaking schools, said the report.

Chennai was recognized as the safest city in India based on its internal stability, levels of crime and local law enforcement, followed by Hyderabad and Bangalore.

However, Indian cities have not made much progress on the quality of living scale, after scoring nearly the same as they did last year. In fact, none of the Indian cities were among the top 100 of the 230 surveyed.

Globally, European cities, led by Vienna, topped the quality of living rankings. This, despite the security issues, social unrest, and concern about the region's economic issues (See: Vienna remains world's best city to live in)

Luxembourg was found to be the safest city and Baghdad the least safe.

The quality of living and safety record of cities help employers compensate their employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Employee incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium.

For instance, an employee moving from Mumbai to Chicago would be entitled to an allowance amounting to 23 per cent of base salary on account of cost of living. However, a move to Angola would mean an allowance equal to 70.5 per cent of base salary as cost of living and hardship premium, said Ruchika Pal, India practice leader, global mobility, at Mercer.

The survey suggests that Indian cities are safer than most others in South Asia. Dhaka in Bangladesh is ranked 216 and Pakistan's Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi are ranked 193, 199 and 202 respectively.

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