The year 2017 heard voices from across the globe speak up in solidarity for gender equality. Today, with social media as the mega-phone that amplifies the global appeal for equality, the term seems to be suffering from semantic saturation i.e. due to constant repetition, it seems to have lost its meaning.
However, the gender gap is very real. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2017 that studied the parity gap across parameters such as access to health, education, politics and workplace, 2017 has been a bad year with the gender gap widening for the first time since records began in 2006. It pointed out that at the current rate of progress, it will take 100 years to bridge the global gender gap (and 217 years to fill workplace gender divide). The same report found India at 108th position in the Global Gender Gap index, a drop from 87 in 2016.
Before we get into the ways and means of accelerating gender equality at the workplace, let’s take a step back to understand what it stands for. Gender equality is the state in which access to rights and opportunities is unaffected by gender. In other words, it is a state devoid of assumptions and stereotypes that diminish the potential of an individual on the basis of their gender. But to really understand equality, it’s necessary to recognize inequality.
Gender bias at work
Gender norms call for women to take up the bulk of the responsibilities at home, and this puts the onus on women to choose between work or family. Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 asked the men to put a monetary value to all the chores their wives did by estimating how much they’d have to pay someone else to do it. With this simple task, Gbowee demonstrated the value of unpaid work that women are expected to do – efforts that are routinely dismissed by working men and women.
This imbalance caused by gender norms or biases penetrates the workplace as well. According to a worldwide survey by Accenture, women are 22% less likely to reach manager level than their male peers. Conversely, men are 47% more likely to reach senior management/director positions than their female peers. The report confirmed that while there are a number of social and economic barriers to equality in the workplace such as educational disparities, childcare, domestic responsibilities and cultural biases, an organisation’s culture can hold women back too.
Why should we be worried about women dropping out mid-career?
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), improving gender parity may result in significant economic dividends depending on the situation of different economies. Gender equality could add additional $250 billion to the GDP of the United Kingdom, $550 billion to Japan’s and $2.5 trillion to China’s. The global GDP could increase by $5.3 trillion by 2025 if the gender gap in economic participation was closed by 25% over the same period.
At an enterprise level, gender equality has benefits comprising better decision making, innovation and greater employee satisfaction leading to higher growth and profits. The WEF report highlighted a LinkedIn research which found that women are under-represented in engineering, manufacturing and construction, and information, communication and technology. Each of these segments lose out the potential benefits of greater gender diversity.
Even at an individual level, the benefits of an equal workplace are seen by men and women alike. The Accenture study quoted earlier identified 40 factors that influence advancement at the workplace. The list of 40 includes gender diversity as a priority, diverse leadership, policies such as maternal and paternal leave and cultural drivers for a more inclusive workplace. The study found that in organisations where these 40 factors are implemented, even men are 23% more likely to advance to a manager level.
Benefits of a 50-50 workplace that leverages the full-potential of its employees has a 3-tier impact – on individual, enterprise, as well as the economy at large. Several companies have integrated gender inclusive frameworks with their organisational structure with the belief that diversity makes the company stronger in terms of innovation, creativity and growth. Representation, parental leave, family support, leadership training, flexible work schedules and transparency are some such policies that are being implemented in organisations to create a diverse and progressive work environment.
Digital literacy - an equaliser?
The movement towards an equal workforce is a slow but steady one which requires progressive transformations in both social and economic fronts of equality. Even though parity might take years to achieve, there are a few enablers that women can benefit from today - digital technology being one of them. A research by Accenture explored how digital technology can be a great facilitator for women. The research, a global survey of 28,000 women and men, went on to highlight three accelerators that could close the gender pay gap – digital fluency, career strategy and tech immersion. According to the research, digital fluency – the extent to which people embrace and use digital technologies – advances pay equality by providing women access to online courses, networking, banking and paid work.
To complement digital fluency, a career strategy would help women manage their careers through mentorship, promotion and training. Lastly, tech immersion – acquiring STEM and digital skills – would help women advance as quickly as men in the workforce and increase their chances of working in a high paying industry. The study argues that combining these three equalizers would reduce the pay gap by 35% worldwide.
Organisations that are built on the principles of diversity know the following points to be true - that diversity is important to make a business stronger and more innovative; that gender equality supports those who have been denied opportunities based on unfair gender biases; and that workplaces need to evolve to make place for different needs and requirements and be flexible enough to create a sense of belonging for every individual in the workforce.
Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equality in the workforce and continues to share its point of view while implementing inclusive policies in its own organisation and opening doors for women in STEM. With more than 40% of the workforce being women, 40% women new hires in 2016, and a vision to have 25% women managing directors globally by 2020 in their workforce, Accenture is paving the path towards a 50-50 world by 2025.
To know more about gender equality in the workplace and how to achieve it, see here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.
This article is about the city. For other uses, see Kolkata (disambiguation).
"Calcutta" redirects here. For other uses, see Calcutta (disambiguation).
Clockwise from top: Victoria Memorial, St. Paul's Cathedral, central business district, Howrah Bridge, city tram line, Vidyasagar Bridge
|Nickname(s): City of Joy|
Cultural Capital of India
Location of Kolkata in West BengalShow map of West Bengal
Kolkata (India)Show map of India
|Coordinates: 22°34′N88°22′E / 22.567°N 88.367°E / 22.567; 88.367Coordinates: 22°34′N88°22′E / 22.567°N 88.367°E / 22.567; 88.367|
|• Mayor||Sovan Chatterjee|
|• Sheriff||Ranjit Mallick|
|• Police commissioner||Rajeev Kumar|
|• Megacity||205.00 km2 (79.150 sq mi)|
|• Metro||1,886.67 km2 (728.45 sq mi)|
|Elevation||9 m (30 ft)|
|• Density||22,000/km2 (57,000/sq mi)|
14,617,882 (Extended UA)
|• Metro rank||3rd|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+05:30)|
|ZIP code(s)||700 001 to 700 162|
|Vehicle registration||WB 01 to WB 10, WB 19 to WB 22|
|Metro GDP||$60 to $150 billion (PPP)|
Kolkata (Bengali pronunciation: [kolkat̪a]), formerly Calcuttauntil 2001, is the capital of the Indianstate of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port. The city is widely regarded as the "cultural capital" of India, and is also nicknamed the "City of Joy". In 2011, the city had a population of 4.5 million, while the population of the city and its suburbs was 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. Recent estimates of Kolkata Metropolitan Area's economy have ranged from $60 to $150 billion (GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity) making it third most-productive metropolitan area in India, after Mumbai and Delhi.
In the late 17th century, the three villages that predated Calcutta were ruled by the Nawab of Bengal under Mughalsuzerainty. After the Nawab granted the East India Company a trading licence in 1690, the area was developed by the Company into an increasingly fortified trading post. Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah occupied Calcutta in 1756, and the East India Company retook it the following year. In 1793 the East India company was strong enough to abolish Nizamat (local rule), and assumed full sovereignty of the region. Under the company rule, and later under the British Raj, Calcutta served as the capital of British-held territories in India until 1911, when its perceived geographical disadvantages, combined with growing nationalism in Bengal, led to a shift of the capital to New Delhi. Calcutta was the centre for the Indian independence movement; it remains a hotbed of contemporary state politics. Following Indian independence in 1947, Kolkata, which was once the centre of modern Indian education, science, culture, and politics, suffered several decades of economic stagnation.
As a nucleus of the 19th- and early 20th-century Bengal Renaissance and a religiously and ethnically diverse centre of culture in Bengal and India, Kolkata has local traditions in drama, art, film, theatre, and literature. Many people from Kolkata—among them several Nobel laureates—have contributed to the arts, the sciences, and other areas. Kolkata culture features idiosyncrasies that include distinctively close-knit neighbourhoods (paras) and freestyle intellectual exchanges (adda). West Bengal's share of the Bengali film industry is based in the city, which also hosts venerable cultural institutions of national importance, such as the Academy of Fine Arts, the Victoria Memorial, the Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum and the National Library of India. Among professional scientific institutions, Kolkata hosts the Agri Horticultural Society of India, the Geological Survey of India, the Botanical Survey of India, the Calcutta Mathematical Society, the Indian Science Congress Association, the Zoological Survey of India, the Institution of Engineers, the Anthropological Survey of India and the Indian Public Health Association. Though home to major cricketing venues and franchises, Kolkata differs from other Indian cities by giving importance to association football and other sports.
Main article: Etymology of Kolkata
The word Kolkata derives from the Bengali term Kôlikata (Bengali: কলিকাতা) [ˈkɔlikat̪a], the name of one of three villages that predated the arrival of the British, in the area where the city eventually was to be established; the other two villages were Sutanuti and Govindapur.
There are several explanations about the etymology of this name:
- The term Kolikata is thought to be a variation of Kalikkhetrô [ˈkalikʰːet̪rɔ] (Bengali: কালীক্ষেত্র), meaning "Field of [the goddess] Kali". Similarly, it can be a variation of 'Kalikshetra' (Sanskrit: कालीक्षेत्र, lit. "area of Goddess Kali").
- Another theory is that the name derives from Kalighat.
- Alternatively, the name may have been derived from the Bengali term kilkila (Bengali: কিলকিলা), or "flat area".
- The name may have its origin in the words khal [ˈkʰal] (Bengali: খাল) meaning "canal", followed by kaṭa [ˈkata] (Bengali: কাটা), which may mean "dug".
- According to another theory, the area specialised in the production of quicklime or koli chun [ˈkɔlitɕun] (Bengali: কলি চুন) and coir or kata [ˈkat̪a] (Bengali: কাতা); hence, it was called Kolikata [ˈkɔlikat̪a] (Bengali: কলিকাতা).
Although the city's name has always been pronounced Kolkata [ˈkolkat̪a] (Bengali: কলকাতা) or Kôlikata [ˈkɔlikat̪a] (Bengali: কলিকাতা) in Bengali, the anglicised form Calcutta was the official name until 2001, when it was changed to Kolkata in order to match Bengali pronunciation. (It should be noted that "Calcutt" is an etymologically unrelated place name found at several locations in England.)
Main article: History of Kolkata
The discovery and archaeological study of Chandraketugarh, 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Kolkata, provide evidence that the region in which the city stands has been inhabited for over two millennia. Kolkata's recorded history began in 1690 with the arrival of the English East India Company, which was consolidating its trade business in Bengal. Job Charnock, an administrator who worked for the company, was formerly credited as the founder of the city; In response to a public petition, the Calcutta High Court ruled in 2003 that the city does not have a founder. The area occupied by the present-day city encompassed three villages: Kalikata, Gobindapur, and Sutanuti. Kalikata was a fishing village; Sutanuti was a riverside weavers' village. They were part of an estate belonging to the Mughal emperor; the jagirdari (a land grant bestowed by a king on his noblemen) taxation rights to the villages were held by the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family of landowners, or zamindars. These rights were transferred to the East India Company in 1698.:1
In 1712, the British completed the construction of Fort William, located on the east bank of the Hooghly River to protect their trading factory. Facing frequent skirmishes with French forces, the British began to upgrade their fortifications in 1756. The Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, condemned the militarisation and tax evasion by the company. His warning went unheeded, and the Nawab attacked; he captured Fort William which led to the killings of several East India company officials in the Black Hole of Calcutta. A force of Company soldiers (sepoys) and British troops led by Robert Clive recaptured the city the following year. Per the 1765 Treaty of Allahabad following the battle of Buxar, East India company was appointed imperial tax collector of the Mughal emperor in the province of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, while Mughal-appointed Nawabs continued to rule the province. Declared a presidency city, Calcutta became the headquarters of the East India Company by 1773. In 1793, ruling power of the Nawabs were abolished and East India company took complete control of the city and the province. In the early 19th century, the marshes surrounding the city were drained; the government area was laid out along the banks of the Hooghly River. Richard Wellesley, Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William between 1797 and 1805, was largely responsible for the development of the city and its public architecture. Throughout the late 18th and 19th century, the city was a centre of the East India Company's opium trade.
By the 1850s, Calcutta had two areas: White Town, which was primarily British and centred on Chowringhee and Dalhousie Square; and Black Town, mainly Indian and centred on North Calcutta. The city underwent rapid industrial growth starting in the early 1850s, especially in the textile and jute industries; this encouraged British companies to massively invest in infrastructure projects, which included telegraph connections and Howrah railway station. The coalescence of British and Indian culture resulted in the emergence of a new babu class of urbane Indians, whose members were often bureaucrats, professionals, newspaper readers, and Anglophiles; they usually belonged to upper-caste Hindu communities. In the 19th century, the Bengal Renaissance brought about an increased sociocultural sophistication among city denizens. In 1883, Calcutta was host to the first national conference of the Indian National Association, the first avowed nationalist organisation in India.
The British moved the capital to New Delhi in 1911. Calcutta continued to be a centre for revolutionary organisations associated with the Indian independence movement. The city and its port were bombed several times by the Japanese between 1942 and 1944, during World War II. Coinciding with the war, millions starved to death during the Bengal famine of 1943 due to a combination of military, administrative, and natural factors.Demands for the creation of a Muslim state led in 1946 to an episode of communal violence that killed over 4,000. The partition of India led to further clashes and a demographic shift—many Muslims left for East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh), while hundreds of thousands of Hindus fled into the city.
During the 1960s and 1970s, severe power shortages, strikes, and a violent Marxist–Maoist movement by groups known as the Naxalites damaged much of the city's infrastructure, resulting in economic stagnation. The Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 led to a massive influx of thousands of refugees, many of them penniless, that strained Kolkata's infrastructure. During the mid-1980s, Mumbai (then called Bombay) overtook Kolkata as India's most populous city. In 1985, prime minister Rajiv Gandhi dubbed Kolkata a "dying city" in light of its socio-political woes. In the period 1977–2011, West Bengal was governed from Kolkata by the Left Front, which was dominated by the Communist Party of India (CPM). It was the world's longest-serving democratically elected communist government, during which Kolkata was a key base for Indian communism. In the West Bengal Legislative Assembly election, 2011, Left Front was defeated by the Trinamool Congress. The city's economic recovery gathered momentum after the 1990s, when India began to institute pro-market reforms. Since 2000, the information technology (IT) services sector has revitalised Kolkata's stagnant economy. The city is also experiencing marked growth in its manufacturing base.
Main article: Geography of Kolkata
Spread roughly north–south along the east bank of the Hooghly River, Kolkata sits within the lower Ganges Delta of eastern India; the city's elevation is 1.5–9 m (5–30 ft). Much of the city was originally a wetland that was reclaimed over the decades to accommodate a burgeoning population. The remaining undeveloped areas, known as the East Kolkata Wetlands, were designated a "wetland of international importance" by the Ramsar Convention (1975). As with most of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the soil and water are predominantly alluvial in origin. Kolkata is located over the "Bengal basin", a pericratonic tertiary basin. Bengal basin comprises three structural units: shelf or platform in the west; central hinge or shelf/slope break; and deep basinal part in the east and southeast. Kolkata is located atop the western part of the hinge zone which is about 25 km (16 mi) wide at a depth of about 45,000 m (148,000 ft) below the surface. The shelf and hinge zones have many faults, among them some are active. Total thickness of sediment below Kolkata is nearly 7,500 m (24,600 ft) above the crystalline basement; of these the top 350–450 m (1,150–1,480 ft) is Quaternary, followed by 4,500–5,500 m (14,760–18,040 ft) of Tertiary sediments, 500–700 m (1,640–2,300 ft) trap wash of Cretaceous trap and 600–800 m (1,970–2,620 ft) Permian-CarboniferousGondwana rocks. The quaternary sediments consist of clay, silt, and several grades of sand and gravel. These sediments are sandwiched between two clay beds: the lower one at a depth of 250–650 m (820–2,130 ft); the upper one 10–40 m (30–130 ft) in thickness. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, on a scale ranging from I to V in order of increasing susceptibility to earthquakes, the city lies inside seismic zone III.
The Kolkata metropolitan area is spread over 1,886.67 km2 (728.45 sq mi):7 and comprises 3 municipal corporations (including Kolkata Municipal Corporation), 39 local municipalities and 24 panchayat samitis, as of 2011[update].:7 The urban agglomeration encompassed 72 cities and 527 towns and villages, as of 2006[update]. Suburban areas in the Kolkata metropolitan area incorporate parts of the following districts: North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, and Nadia.:15 Kolkata, which is under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), has an area of 185 km2 (71 sq mi). The east–west dimension of the city is comparatively narrow, stretching from the Hooghly River in the west to roughly the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass in the east—a span of 9–10 km (5.6–6.2 mi). The north–south distance is greater, and its axis is used to section the city into North, Central, and South Kolkata. East Kolkata is also a section.
North Kolkata is the oldest part of the city. Characterised by 19th-century architecture, dilapidated buildings, overpopulated slums, crowded bazaars, and narrow alleyways, it includes areas such as Shyambazar, Hatibagan, Maniktala, Kankurgachi, Rajabazar, Shobhabazar, Shyampukur, Sonagachi, Kumortuli, Bagbazar, Jorasanko, Chitpur, Pathuriaghata, Cossipore, Sinthee, Belgachia, Jorabagan, and Dum Dum.:65–66 The northern suburban areas like Baranagar, Noapara, Dunlop, Dakshineswar, Nagerbazar, Belghoria, Sodepur, Madhyamgram, Kestopur, Birati, Khardah up to Barrackpur are also within the city of Kolkata (as a metropolitan structure).
Central Kolkata hosts the central business district. It contains B. B. D. Bagh, formerly known as Dalhousie Square, and the Esplanade on its east; Strand Road is on its west. The West Bengal Secretariat, General Post Office, Reserve Bank of India, High Court, Lalbazar Police Headquarters, and several other government and private offices are located there. Another business hub is the area south of Park Street, which comprises thoroughfares such as Chowringhee, Camac Street, Wood Street, Loudon Street, Shakespeare Sarani, and A. J. C. Bose Road. The Maidan is a large open field in the heart of the city that has been called the "lungs of Kolkata" and accommodates sporting events and public meetings. The Victoria Memorial and Kolkata Race Course are located at the southern end of the Maidan. Other important areas of Central Kolkata are Burrabazar, College Street, Sealdah, Taltala, Janbazar, Bowbazar, Entally, Chandni Chowk, Lalbazar, Chowringhee, Dharmatala, Tiretta Bazar, Bow Barracks, Mullick Bazar, Park Circus, Babughat etc. Among the other parks are Central Park in Bidhannagar and Millennium Park on Strand Road, along the Hooghly River.
East Kolkata is largely composed of newly developed areas and neighbourhoods of Saltlake, Rajarhat, Tangra, Beliaghata, Ultadanga, Phoolbagan etc. Two planned townships in the greater Kolkata region are Bidhannagar, also known as Salt Lake City and located north-east of the city; and Rajarhat, also called New Town and sited east of Bidhannagar. In the 2000s, Sector V in Bidhannagar developed into a business hub for information technology and telecommunication companies. Both Bidhannagar and New Town are situated outside the Kolkata Municipal Corporation limits, in their own municipalities.
South Kolkata developed after India gained independence in 1947; it includes upscale neighbourhoods such as Ballygunge, Alipore, New Alipore, Lansdowne, Bhowanipore, Kalighat, Dhakuria, Gariahat, Tollygunge, Naktala, Jodhpur Park, Lake Gardens, Golf Green, Jadavpur, Haltu, Nandi Bagan, Picnic Garden, Topsia, Santoshpur and Kasba. Outlying areas of South Kolkata include Garden Reach, Khidirpur, Metiabruz, Taratala, Maheshtala, Budge Budge, Behala, Sarsuna, Barisha, Parnasree Pally, Thakurpukur, Kudghat, Ranikuthi, Bansdroni, Baghajatin, Tiljala and Garia. The southern suburban areas like Narendrapur, Sonarpur, Baruipur are also within the city of Kolkata (as metropolitan structure). Fort William, on the western part of the city, houses the headquarters of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army; its premises are under the jurisdiction of the army.
Main article: Climate of Kolkata
Kolkata is subject to a tropical wet-and-dry climate that is designated Aw under the Köppen climate classification. According to a United Nations Development Programme report, its wind and cyclone zone is "very high damage risk".
The annual mean temperature is 26.8 °C (80.2 °F); monthly mean temperatures are 19–30 °C (66–86 °F). Summers (March–June) are hot and humid, with temperatures in the low 30s Celsius; during dry spells, maximum temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in May and June. Winter lasts for roughly two-and-a-half months, with seasonal lows dipping to 9–11 °C (48–52 °F) in December and January. May is the hottest month, with daily temperatures ranging from 27–37 °C (81–99 °F); January, the coldest month, has temperatures varying from 12–23 °C (54–73 °F). The highest recorded temperature is 43.9 °C (111.0 °F), and the lowest is 5 °C (41 °F). The winter is mild and very comfortable weather pertains over the city throughout this season. Often, in April–June, the city is struck by heavy rains or dusty squalls that are followed by thunderstorms or hailstorms, bringing cooling relief from the prevailing humidity. These thunderstorms are convective in nature, and are known locally as kal bôishakhi (কালবৈশাখী), or "Nor'westers" in English.
Rains brought by the Bay of Bengal branch of the south-west summer monsoon lash Kolkata between June and September, supplying it with most of its annual rainfall of 1,800 mm (71 in). The highest monthly rainfall total occurs in July and August. The city receives 2,528 hours of sunshine per year, with maximum sunlight exposure occurring in March. Kolkata has been hit by several cyclones; these include systems occurring in 1737 and 1864 that killed thousands.
|Climate data for Kolkata (Alipore) 1971–1990|
|Record high °C (°F)||32.8|
|Average high °C (°F)||26.4|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||20.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||13.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||6.7|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||11|
|Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||1.2||2.2||3.0||4.8||8.7||14.7||20.5||20.2||15.7||8.1||1.5||0.9||101.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||66||58||58||66||70||77||83||83||81||73||67||68||71|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||203.9||201.2||225.8||235.4||227.1||123.1||93.1||104.9||116.2||182.6||190.8||203.4||2,107.5|
|Source #1: NOAA|
|Source #2: India Meteorological Department (record high and low up to 2010)|
Pollution is a major concern in Kolkata. As of 2008[update], sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide annual concentration were within the national ambient air quality standards of India, but respirable suspended particulate matter levels were high, and on an increasing trend for five consecutive years, causing smog and haze. Severe air pollution in the city has caused a rise in pollution-related respiratory ailments, such as lung cancer.
Main article: Economy of Kolkata
Kolkata is the main commercial and financial hub of East and North-East India and home to the Calcutta Stock Exchange. It is a major commercial and military port, and is the only city in eastern India to have an international airport. Once India's leading city, Kolkata experienced a steady economic decline in the decades following India's independence due to steep population increases and a rise in militant trade-unionism, which included frequent strikes that were backed by left-wing parties. From the 1960s to the late 1990s, several factories were closed and businesses relocated. The lack of capital and resources added to the depressed state of the city's economy and gave rise to an unwelcome sobriquet: the "dying city". The city's fortunes improved after the Indian economy was liberalised in the 1990s and changes in economic policy were enacted by the West Bengal state government.
Flexible production has been the norm in Kolkata, which has an informal sector that employs more than 40% of the labour force. One unorganised group, roadside hawkers, generated business worth ₹ 8,772 crore (US$ 2 billion) in 2005. As of 2001[update], around 0.81% of the city's workforce was employed in the primary sector (agriculture, forestry, mining, etc.); 15.49% worked in the secondary sector (industrial and manufacturing); and 83.69% worked in the tertiary sector (service industries).:19 As of 2003[update], the majority of households in slums were engaged in occupations belonging to the informal sector; 36.5% were involved in servicing the urban middle class (as maids, drivers, etc.), and 22.2% were casual labourers.:11 About 34% of the available labour force in Kolkata slums were unemployed.:11 According to one estimate, almost a quarter of the population live on less than 27 rupees (equivalent to 45 US cents) per day. As in many other Indian cities, information technology became a high-growth sector in Kolkata starting in the late 1990s; the city's IT sector grew at 70% per annum—a rate that was twice the national average. The 2000s saw a surge of investments in the real estate, infrastructure, retail, and hospitality sectors; several large shopping malls and hotels were launched. As of 2010[update], Kolkata, with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) by purchasing power parity of 150 billion dollars, ranked third among South Asian cities, after Mumbai and Delhi. Kolkata's GDP in 2014 was Rs 1.84 trillion, according to a collaborative assessment by multiple universities and climate agencies.
Kolkata is home to many industrial units operated by large public- and private-sector corporations; major sectors include steel, heavy engineering, mining, minerals, cement, pharmaceuticals, food processing, agriculture, electronics, textiles, and jute.Companies such as ITC Limited, Coal India Limited, National Insurance Company, Exide Industries and Britannia Industries are all headquartered in the city. The Tea Board of India and the Ordnance Factories Board of the Indian Ministry of Defence are also headquartered in the city. Kolkata hosts the headquarters of three major public-sector banks: Allahabad Bank, UCO Bank, and the United Bank of India. Adoption of the "Look East" policy by the Indian government; opening of Sikkim's Nathu La mountain pass, which is located on the border between India and China, to bi-directional international trade; and the interest shown by Southeast Asian countries in expanding into Indian markets are factors that could benefit Kolkata.
See also: Ethnic communities in Kolkata