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Founder's Message

Founder
MR M.R. JAISHANKAR
CMD
jaishankar-cmd

We are in the middle of the 2024 parliamentary elections. What the resilient Indian economy needs is a stable government with a vision to make India into a seven trillion dollar economy by 2030, and to give ‘a better quality of life’ to its large masses. By June, we will know who will be in the saddle to lead the country for the next five years.

The huge population of India, what seemed like a curse few decades back, is now being portrayed as a ‘demographic dividend’ with 60% of India’s population below 35 years of age. The growth in GDP and, in turn, increase in per capita income is surely helping millions of Indians to come out of poverty month after month, thereby increasing domestic demand for products and services. PM Modi’s push to increase manufacturing activity through PLI and other schemes is slowly but surely helping create lakhs of blue collar jobs, although Vietnam seems to have over taken India in benefitting from the China Plus One strategy of MNCs.

While the world is chugging along with all the strife in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, one never knows when and what will upset the delicate balance that is making many countries function as if ‘nothing is happening around them’, and everything is ‘bold and beautiful’! Terrorism in dierent forms is the greatest threat to development and existence in the world. Israel’s response to the Palestinian terrorist activities is too severe and tough for us Indians to understand, as we are used to the soft pedalling nature of our governments in the past. It is very important for the ongoing conflicts to end for peace and co-existence.

The Indian economy is generally firing on all cylinders, and I wish it continues to do so, thereby helping achieve the aspirations of millions of Indians. With a higher educated younger population from rural areas seeking new pastures, urbanisation is increasing, as witnessed earlier in China and many other countries. Most countries with high industrialisation have upwards of 65-70% of its population in urban centres, as compared to 35-38% of Indians in urban centres due to India's economy still being dependent on agriculture in a big way. With greater urbanisation, one can imagine the increase in demand for housing and necessities like clean air, food, water, entertainment and good infrastructure.

Happy to record the good performance of Brigade in the financial year closing March 2024. We made fresh sales exceeding 7.50 million square feet, earned lease rental income of upwards INR 900 crores, and all eight operating star hotels posting best results.

The momentum for growth will continue as long as the Indian economy continues to perform well. There is no doubt on this aspect. We are still a country with a low per capita income below USD 3000, and a low global ranking of 125 out of 200 countries. One needs to look towards China to know what happens to the country’s economy and prosperity of its people when the per capita increases to $5,000 or $7,000 or more.

The Global Business Forum 2024 of WTC Association New York, hosted by our World Trade Center Bengaluru in March was a resounding success with the participation of more than 200 international delegates.

Jt. Managing Director, Nirupa Shankar qualifying as an ‘Ironman’ at the Copenhagen event is a phenomenal achievement due to the sheer toughness and endurance required.

As part of our CSR initiatives, Brigade is happy to have undertaken the much required renovation of the well-known state government owned Venkatappa Art Gallery. It should reopen by the end of the year. The 108-bed hospital, a philanthropic initiative in association with St. John's Medical College Hospital is in its final stage of completion at Brigade Meadows, Bengaluru South.

In closing, we should all hope and pray that our country and our state get a good monsoon to bring smiles to both rural and urban population alike, including the parched throats of Bangaloreans.

JAI HIND.


—Jaishankar CMD, Brigade.

 

ARCHIVE INDEX
"A few thoughts…" is a column that our CMD Mr M.R. Jaishankar writes regularly for our house journal Brigade Insight. A few of his columns are reproduced here."
December 2010

In the last few months, the country has been riddled with scams which have shaken the confidence of people. Whatever little hope we may have had of an improvement in the moral fabric of our society has gone with the wind. Cynics have won over optimists. We have also been bombarded with WikiLeaks and the Radia tapes expose—which has not helped in improving the mood of the public.

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The saving grace in an otherwise bleak scenario is Sachin Tendulkar's 50th test century in cricket. The master blaster has brought tremendous joy to millions of people, making him worthy of consideration for the Bharat Ratna—our nation's highest civilian honour. It is ridiculous to go on debating whether Sachin is better than Don Bradman. In my opinion, both are 'greats' in their era. We should leave it at that. We should now look forward to Sachin completing 100 centuries in International Cricket. Just four more to go and he should surely do it.

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It feels wonderful to know that our WTC building is the 'Best Commercial Project of the Year 2010' in the entire country. The vision of—and meticulous planning by—the entire team has contributed to making Brigade Gateway (of which WTC Bangalore is a part) a unique and one-of-its-kind project…not just in Bangalore, but in the country and most probably in the entire world. To the best of my knowledge, there is no project in an urban centre anywhere in the world with all the components of Brigade Gateway: club, hotel, hospital, mall, offices, residences and a school.

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In September, I was part of the State delegation, led by the Chief Minister, to the World Economic Forum (referred to as the Summer Davos) at Tianjin, China. It is mind boggling to see the fast pace of infrastructure development that China is going through. Their future plans are beyond the imagination of most countries and their determination to excel in anything they put their mind to, has to be seen to be believed. Apart from true appreciation, one can get jealous of their development; get depressed with the lack of similar progress in our country, though we have the opportunity and potential; and also get scared at the might of our big brother neighbour who is breathing down our neck.

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Brigade Group completed 24 years of existence on 10 October 2010! As we enter our 25th year, we are gearing up to launch 25 new projects-big, medium and a few small ones-apart from completing some of the ongoing projects in early 2011.

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As we look back, there is a certain amount of satisfaction … which gives us the determination to work hard for a brighter future and to create a 'better quality of life' for our customers, who are the bread and butter of our business..

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Wishing you Seasons Greetings and a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2011.



August 2010

The most significant development of the last quarter is securing the license/franchise to rebrand our office building in Brigade Gateway as World Trade Center! With this, we join the elite group of 29 to own WTC buildings worldwide. WTC is the most recognised and sought-after business address anywhere in the world. WTC Bangalore is the tallest building in Bangalore (435 feet) with many unique features, including—for the first time in Bangalore—an observation deck. It should be operational in a few months. It is a proud and positive development for Brigade Group, the city of Bangalore and the State of Karnataka..

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It feels good to find a place among the Top Ten Builders in the country, in the perception survey conducted by Construction World, the most circulated construction industry magazine in the country. What is particularly nice is that we may be the only developer in the country to be nominated for the award for four consecutive years (2007-2010), from the time the awards were instituted five years ago.

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India’s GDP growth is right on track by achieving 8.8% growth, against the estimated 8.5%, in Q1 of 2010-11. While we have become a trillion dollar economy after 63 years of independence, due to our billion+ population, our per capita income is just over a thousand dollars—way behind the populous Indonesia and even our small neighbour, Sri Lanka, till recently a strife ridden country. While considerable progress is happening in the development of infrastructure in the country, it is always short of what is needed for the long-suffering population and India’s fast growing economy. The country has too many major problems to tackle—be it high corruption, whose tentacles are far reaching and growing by the day; terrorism in Kashmir; Maoist/Naxalite insurgency in Eastern India; increasing religious radicals even in Southern India; and, most importantly, the growing influence of China in Pak-occupied Kashmir and Sri Lanka. The answer lies in bringing prosperity to the population, thereby reducing the influence of extremist elements. From this angle, the motto of the WTCA (World Trade Centers Association, New York) is quite apt: to bring prosperity through trade; and peace through prosperity.

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The much-awaited direct taxes Code Bill, which promised to bring far reaching reforms in tax administration, turned out to be a damp squib. A mountain was promised; but a mole is given. The so-called simplified version is 405 pages long! Tax consultants and advocates will have a feast, for the next few years, from the confusion it creates and the clarifications to be given by the Tribunals and Courts. Businessmen and industrialists will end up spending even more time in non-productive work.

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KPL-2 (Karnataka Premier League) Cricket season will be held from September 16th to 30th. While the KSCA (Karnataka State Cricket Association) did well in pioneering the State Premier League concept in the country, it has fallen short in publicising, popularising and managing the event well. Their present efforts are not adding value to the franchisees. I hope the young bunch of Bangalore Brigadiers will better last year’s performance of reaching the semi-finals.

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The Galaxy Club at Brigade Gateway is ready and looking beautiful. It is a boon to the campus occupants and its members. The same goes for The Brigade School @ Malleswaram, in the Brigade Gateway enclave, started by our Not-for-Profit Brigade Foundation. The school has received a very enthusiastic response from the neighbourhood in its very first year.

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At last, our efforts to start projects in Hyderabad are on track. Our maiden project, Brigade Zenith, will soon be launched in the up-market Banjara Hills.

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I am happy and thankful to the Board of Directors for instituting a ‘Chair’ at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras to do research in the field of Construction Technology and Project Management. It will be in memory of our late Independent Director, Dr T. N. Subba Rao, who was always forthcoming with ideas and advice in the interest of Brigade Group.

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The festival season is on with Ramzan, Ganesha Chaturthi, Dasara and Deepavali—all in the next ten weeks. I wish our readers happy celebration and a wonderful festival season ahead.



May 2010

The Completion of Brigade Gateway Residential Block is a major milestone achieved. While significant completion has happened, the snag rectification of individual apartments and overall fine tuning is a challenging process, requiring great care and patience. The Brigade Gateway campus is looking better and better as it moves towards total completion. The Brigade School will open in June 2010. The Galaxy Club should open in a couple of months. WTC Bangalore, Orion Mall and Sheraton Bangalore Hotel are also getting ready. As far as I know, Brigade Gateway is the most integrated enclave in an urban centre anywhere in the world! The total integration of residential with offices, retail, hotel, medical, educational and recreational facilities within the city, is unprecedented. The convenience of living in such an environment will truly be a great experience.

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While the Indian economy has shown stability, it is getting affected by the shaky European economy. Mounting debt in Greece, Portugal, Spain and even Italy has started creating a ripple effect. I hope the governments in EU countries won’t let another 2008 kind of situation happen.

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Central and State Budgets of 2010 have come and gone without giving any relief on applicability of multiple taxes to the same real estate transaction. India could be the only country with the dubious distinction of treating purchase of a property under construction from a developer as: firstly, ‘transfer of property’ attracting stamp duty; secondly, as Sale of Goods under VAT rules; and, to make matters worse, as a Service under the Central Government Service Tax Rules. The desire to get revenue has made the authorities/law makers blind, with the result, citizens have to live with this unfair tax treatment.

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Brigade Group is trying to launch a number of new projects in all segments and categories—residential, office, retail and hospitality. But the procedures and the need to meet more and more rules and get permissions is making the process very cumbersome and time consuming…resulting in an increase in overhead costs, which negatively impacts on the product price.

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Our Mercure Homestead Residences will soon be rebranded as ‘Grand Mercure’ (a higher rated brand of Accor Hotels worldwide). Our Mercure property recently received an award—from the globally recognised Hospitality Consultants, HVS—for Best New Hotel in South Asia in the Serviced Apartment category! To cap this, the Ministry of Tourism has also given a 5-star rating for Mercure Homestead Residences.

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It is heartening to get recognized again by the well-known Realty Plus magazine as the Best Regional Developer (Residential) in 2010 for the Southern Region. So also by Construction Source India as the Best Developer in Residential Infrastructure.

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In the next few months, Brigade will concentrate on total completion of its many projects which are in final stages and sale/lease of balance stock of residential, office and retail units—apart from making persistent efforts to create new stock quickly. I look forward to continued support and patronage from our clients for our new launches.



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