This issue is coming after a gap of one year. The April issue could not be released due to the 2nd wave of the pandemic and the connected lockdown.
People’s perceptions and attitudes toward life and work have changed a lot over the last 17 months. People and businesses who were able to adapt to the fast changes encountered, have flourished. Those who could not, have unfortunately perished. The impact of the 2nd wave was quite severe on the personal lives of millions of Indians. More than 32 million people contracted the Wuhan Virus and unfortunately, 430 thousand people have died in our country. Worldwide figures: 207 million affected & nearly 4.4 million people have passed away.
The numbers are only growing by the day, even though multiple vaccines are available. For 7,800 million people to be vaccinated twice, it can take another year or two. Luckily, more than 500 million Indians have been administered at least one dose of the vaccine. As a result, if there is a third wave of the virus, the impact is likely to be less severe than the earlier 2 waves. Only time will tell. But, as individuals, one needs to strictly follow all precautions as recommended by the health authorities for their own good.
During these uncertain times, Brigade was able to sail through the troubled waters reasonably well. While our Hospitality and Retail segments were badly affected, the Residential real estate business performed remarkably well by posting the highest sales since the inception of the Group in October 1986. Office leasing sentiments are also affected quite a bit, although the Indian software sector has had exceptional times due to their sheer resilience and ability to keep up their commitments to clients.
The concept of life and work has also undergone tremendous change. Work From Home (WFH) in the financial and technology sectors is a shining example of success, wherever remote working is possible. E-commerce has made life convenient to the technologically savvy population. It has already revolutionised the retail shopping sector. It will have a big impact in the years ahead on the traditional ‘Kirana’ stores and even Shopping Malls. Lockdowns to contain COVID-19 have reinforced the importance of owning a ‘roof over one’s head’, that too a comfortable, spacious one. With reduced expenditure & increased personal savings due to lockdowns, and real estate developers coming up with attractive price & payment schemes, the affordability factor has increased at all levels, resulting in improved demand for housing. This has been the saving grace for developers. Even with all the challenges faced during the last 17 months, we have been able to complete 15 projects with an area of 12.40 million square feet, including our marquee project, World Trade Center (WTC) Chennai. During the same period, we launched 14 projects with an area of 11.30 million square feet including Brigade Citadel in Hyderabad, and Brigade Residences at WTC Chennai.
A feather in the cap is the recognition by the international body, Great Place to Work Institute in association with the Economic Times, for the 11th year in a row - placing Brigade amongst the Top 100 Best Places to Work in the Country - the only real estate developer in the country to receive such an honour. Despite inadequate support to business and industry by the Central & State Government, the Indian Corporate Sector has shown a lot of resilience, thereby presumably, helping wipe out the 7.5% negative GDP of 2020. Good monsoon across the country, in general, has played its part. But the concerns of MSME sectors and small businesses remain. This means by the end of March 2022, India’s financial position may get back to March 2020 status. With the loss of 2 valuable years of growth, it would be a miracle of sorts if our country can reach the targeted GDP of 5 trillion USD by 2024-25. Reaching the USD 5-7 trillion mark is essential for the country. This will ensure that per capita income goes up to USD 4-5k from the present USD 2k. Only when the per capita income goes beyond USD 4-5k, can the MIG population hope to have good disposable income, which in turn will give a boost for the next stage of growth. This would be very similar to what happened in China over the last 20 years. The Central Government has taken up several structural reforms during the past couple of years to help the Indian industry grow and at the same time supporting the farmers and the poorer sections of the society. One hopes these structural reforms will start yielding results soon. Stock indices of BSE & NSE have gone through the roof on this expectation. FII & SIP fund inflows have added fuel to the fire.
With this hope, as we enter the 75th year of Independence, we can expect ‘Tomorrow to be brighter than Today’.
Wishing our readers good health and safety.
—Jaishankar CMD, Brigade.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
Wishing you Seasons Greetings and a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2011.