Bangalore (Bengaluru) is an urban region that was shaped by state-led economic development following India’s independence and transformed by India’s economic liberalisation in the 1980s and 1990s. It is the third most populous city in India, with over 8.4 million inhabitants according to the most recent Census of India. Like Mumbai, evidence from government data demonstrates a clear shift towards the employment of wage labour. However, unlike Mumbai, changes to employment in the 1990s and early 2000s incorporated growth in large-scale, organised sector enterprises alongside growth in informal enterprises. Bangalore’s transformation during the neoliberal era has incorporated the expansion of large-scale manufacturing and, especially, service-sector enterprises, including both large foreign and domestic transnational corporations. In this sense, Bangalore’s development is an excellent example of uneven and combined development. The city has emerged, rather famously, as a global ‘hub’ of information technology (IT) and business services. In addition to this, Bangalore remains a centre of light manufacturing and the home to some of India’s most important public sector institutions. Its growth has made the state of Karnataka affluent and fast growing by Indian standards. Economic expansion in its capital, the global IT-enabled services hub of Bangalore, has influenced a belief that it represents a model of services-led development for poor regions (Kadekodi et al., 2008; Narayana, 2008). However, rapid economic development in this urban region has been considerably more complex than this belief implies. As this chapter demonstrates, institutional conflict and generous state subsidies were crucial to the rise of these high-growth sectors. Financial accumulation through land acquisition and real estate development became more important for the development of export-oriented industry through the provision of cheap or free land and the establishment of ‘Special Economic Zones’ (SEZs). While some high-income households have benefited from this process, the growth of employment in both large-scale and small-scale enterprises has been dominated by rising informal labour, from the city’s garment and automotive factories to the thousands of informal enterprises that have grown during the neoliberal period. Like Chapter 3, this chapter combines analysis of government data on changes to employment with evidence from secondary source material. It too is divided into two parts: first, it looks at evidence from
government sources, chiefly the Economic Census (EC) but also National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data, to explore changes to informal employment and enterprises in the 1990s and 2000s. Second, it uses a discussion of secondary source material to corroborate and critically reflect upon this evidence. As we shall see, Bangalore is very different to Greater Mumbai in that this recent historical period saw an expansion of wage labour employed in informal enterprises but an even faster expansion of informal wage labour employed in organised sector firms. Finally, like Chapter 3, the data in the following section refers only to urban areas unless otherwise stated.