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UIC - Mumbai, social and economic opportunities

People have moved to Mumbai because large cities like Mumbai offer more opportunities to people than rural areas can.  Cities benefit from ECONOMIES of SCALE – it easier and cheaper to provide the services people desire when there are lots of people.

Social Opportunities
These are opportunities that help people in some way or other, Mumbai offers many opportunities to people via access to various public and private services;
Health care – we often take health care for granted in the UK, with our free at the point of use NHS, but access to quality healthcare matters to many people.  In cities like Mumbai people have easier access to a wider range of medical services including doctors, hospitals and nurses. Even the poor have access to basic medical services that they either would not have in the rural areas or would have to travel very long distances for.
Education – this is another free at the point of use service in the UK, but education is truly life changing and often taken for granted. Not in poor countries, migrants often move to cities to have access to schools for their children, so that their children have a much better chance in life than themselves.
Water supply – This is variable in Mumbai, and in Dharavi slum the water pipes are only in use 2 hours a day and there are queues for this water.  However, this is clean drinking water, which often not available in poorer rural areas or involves a time consuming labour intensive walk for (mainly) women to the local well.   Having access to clean water that does not transmit parasites or cause cholera is another opportunity provided by living in an urban megacity like Mumbai.
Energy – some remote parts of India still have no electricity, whilst living in a large city like Mumbai allows people to live with all of the benefits of energy and electricity. This is another opportunity or pull factor, think of all of the opportunities that having regular energy supply offers to people.

Economic opportunities

The major pull factor of a city like Mumbai, like cities in LICs and NEEs across the globe, is the opportunity for employment.  Most people around the globe want the chance to work, earn a living and provide a decent life for themselves and their families.  Mumbai offers a huge range of job opportunities from the hugely attractive and often unobtainable like working for a major financial institution like a bank or in the Bollywood film industry, to the most basic such as rag pickers (people who sift through rubbish to find items of any worth).

Informal Industry

Mumbai has many job opportunities because it alone accounts for 6% of India's GDP and 40% of its foreign trade.  It is also a manufacturing hub which creates a lot of jobs, 25% of India’s industrial production is in Mumbai. The port area also creates a lot of valuable jobs. 
It also has the headquarters of a number of Indian financial institutions such as the Bombay Stock Exchange and the Reserve Bank of India, and numerous Indian companies such as the Tata Group. Most of these offices are located in downtown South Mumbai which is the nerve center of the Indian economy.


The formal and informal economy
Many of the jobs in Mumbai are in the formal economy.  These jobs are registered jobs where the workers’ pay taxes to the government and the companies have a legal obligation to protect their workers, offer holidays and pay regular wages.
However, many of the jobs in Mumbai are also found in the informal economy.  Here there is no minimum wage, the workers are unlikely to pay taxes, have no holiday rights and often work in dangerous or hazardous conditions. Jobs include rag picking, breaking up and recycling old electronic products, recycling waste, making pottery, selling items on the street etc.  The key to many these jobs is that they cost little to set up, use simple tools and are labour intensive (involve lots of human work).

Despite the difficulties of the informal industry, these industries offer poor often uneducated people a foothold in the city.  They can earn money and start to improve their quality of life from that point. Dharavi slum has the following positives for people
1. Informal shopping areas exist where it is possible to buy anything you might need.
2. There are also mosques catering for people's religious needs.
3. There is a pottery area of Dharavi slum which has a community centre.
4. Rooms within houses have multiple functions, including living, working and sleeping. Many daily chores are done in social spheres because people live close to one another. This helps to generate a sense of community.
5. The buildings in the pottery part of the slum are all of different heights and colours, adding interest and diversity. This is despite the enormous environmental problems with air and land pollution.
6. 85% of people have a job in the slum and work LOCALLY, and some have even managed to become millionaires.
 

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