Cost of Living in India

Cost of living in IndiaGiven its large size, the cost of living in India varies considerably, but many new arrivals are surprised to find that living costs in major cities can be pricey.

The 2016 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranked Mumbai and New Delhi at 82 and 130 out of the 209 cities studied. The cost of living in Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru is significantly lower as they were ranked at 158, 194 and 180 respectively. 

Expats who negotiate a lucrative relocation package in India can often afford luxuries that they wouldn’t be able to at home like maid services, chauffeurs and having home-cooked lunches delivered to the office.

Cost of housing in India

Accommodation is likely to be an expat's biggest expense in India, with property in New Delhi and Mumbai being particularly expensive. For instance, a four-bedroom house in New Delhi can cost upwards of 200,000 INR per month.

Wherever possible, expats should try to negotiate a housing allowance or complimentary housing into their employment package.

Cost of healthcare in India

Expats moving to India will have access to relatively cheap healthcare services with good standards. They will, however, have to factor in the cost of health insurance if it isn't covered by their employer.

Cost of education in India

It's possible for expat children to attend public schools in India, but their standards aren't in line with what most expat parents would expect.

Instead, expat children usually attend international schools. Securing a place at popular international schools in India is difficult, and calling upon contacts or even paying bribes to secure a place aren't unheard of.

Fees vary between schools but expats can expect to pay upwards of 1.8 million INR a year for senior students, so it's important to try and negotiate a schooling allowance into employment contracts.

Cost of eating out in India

The cost of entertainment and eating out in India will vary according to an expat’s personal preferences. It's possible to eat out inexpensively in India, especially if expats are willing to try local cuisines. 

Cost of groceries in India

Expats who buy local produce will find that everyday groceries are cheap in India. Shopping at vegetable markets allows expats to eat fresh seasonal produce while supporting local vendors. Those who buy imported Western foods will have a considerably higher bill.

Cost of living in India chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for April 2017.
Accommodation (monthly rent from unfurnished to furnished)
Furnished two-bedroom house INR 92,000
Unfurnished two-bedroom house INR 85,000
Furnished two-bedroom apartment INR 88,000
Unfurnished two-bedroom apartment INR 78,000
Eggs (dozen) INR 58
Milk (1 litre) INR 45
Rice (1kg) INR 58
Loaf of white bread  INR 24
Chicken breasts (1kg) INR 240
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) INR 185
Eating out
Big Mac Meal INR 200
Coca-Cola (330ml) INR 30
Cappuccino INR 95
Bottle of local beer INR 100
Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant INR 1,000
Mobile to mobile call rate (per minute) INR 1
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) INR 1,500
Basic utilities (per month for small apartment) INR 4,200
City centre bus/train fare INR 20
Taxi (rate per km) INR 15
Petrol/gasoline per litre INR 67

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