Mumbai, the city of dreams, the city where many people from India migrate in search of better life. Mumbai was not always great. Till the 17th century, Mumbai (earlier known as Bombay) was a combination of seven small islands in the Arabian Sea.
Koli fishermen were the first inhabitants who developed their villages and settlements along with the cost of Mumbai.
Hindus, Buddhist, and Muslim rulers ruled the greater Bombay region. However, after Vasco da Gama of Portugal landed at Calicut in 1498, Bombay witnessed the dawn of development.
In exchange for military support, the Portuguese acquired the 7 islands from the Sultan of Gujarat in 1534.
They set up their capital at Bassein, controlled the island for more than a century, and converted thousands to Christianity in and around Bombay.
Soon, the King of Portugal gifted the islands to King Charles II of England in 1661; This was a marriage gift to King Charles II on his marriage to a Portuguese princess (Catherine of Braganza).
King Charles II further leased the island to the then East India Company. The company then fortified the island to protect it against any foreign attack.
The Municipal Corporation was established in 1872, and the Bombay Port Trust in 1873.
Bombay (currently Mumbai) developed as India’s financial center for trade and industries. They continued up to 1947.
After the Independence, Mumbai began to grow rapidly. Soon it began to attract various foreign Business investments, thus, resulting in many Businessmen from all across India moving their offices and homes to Mumbai. Hence, Mumbai became the financial city of India.
However, today Mumbai is suffering from various problems. One of the biggest problems today Mumbai is facing is Overpopulation, corruption, pollution and crumbling infrastructure along with excessive unemployment.
The population of Mumbai grew by twelve million in past 30 years and is forecast to add another seven million by 2035. Mumbai has a fertility rate of two children per woman. This has led to the population of Mumbai growing by approximately 5 percent year on year.
Overpopulation in Mumbai has given rise to illegal settlements (slums), which work as a vote bank for the corrupt politicians in Mumbai and these slums are still growing in Mumbai. According to census report of 2021, around 41.84% of total population of Mumbai lives in Slums and these slums are increasing rapidly due to the crumbling infrastructure of Mumbai.
Slums are huge hurdles to Mumbai’s economic growth. Slums lack sufficient access to basic infrastructure and services, including electricity, water, and sanitation, reducing the time and capacity available for productive economic activities.
Due to overpopulation, the transportation infrastructure in Mumbai is on the verge of collapse. Government is trying its best to improve transportation infrastructure by building new flyovers, Metro and mono railways. Government also improved the infrastructure by increasing the number of train compartments and increasing the intake capacity of each compartment, but the overpopulation in Mumbai is the biggest obstacle in Mumbai’s infrastructural development.
Lack of proper transport infrastructure, the level of pollution in Mumbai is increasing dramatically. According to the survey conducted by India today, Mumbai comes into the 14th position in the list of most polluted cities in the world.
While pollution is on the rise, the unemployment rate in Mumbai is exploding. According to CMIE, unemployment rate in urban areas like Mumbai has risen to 8.9% in recent years. If it continues, businesses will start to move out from Mumbai. Most of the companies and small businesses are already moving out from Mumbai because of its lack of ability to build communities and insufficient infrastructure.
Many companies are moving to Delhi and Bengaluru from Mumbai, its greatly effecting the economy of Mumbai. According to experts, in coming years Mumbai will soon lose its status of “financial capital”. Excessive unemployment, lack of infrastructure, lack of opportunities can soon lead to the economic downfall of Mumbai.
Union Minister Narayan Rane has said a recession is expected to hit India after June. Recession will make matters worse for Mumbai’s unemployment, infrastructural and economic problems.
This raises many questions, is government prepared to lose Mumbai? because Mumbai’s loss will be India’s loss. Is Mumbai ready for a huge change? Will the conditions of Mumbai improve, or will they get worse?? Why government isn’t taking any actions on the corrupt politicians who are making the economic conditions of Mumbai worse?