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.
IT'S a great feeling to know that our flagship project, Brigade Gateway, continues to be recognised with awards. The most recent one is from CNBC AWAAZ: for Orion Mall, the WTC office building and the residential buildings—allconsidered the Best in Class.
With the launch of our much awaited Brigade Pinnacle luxury apartments, we have made our maiden entry to the city of Mangalore. Similarly, with the launch of Brigade Serenity, we have taken the Brigade presence to Chikmagalur, which happens to be the home town of Brigade Group’s promoters. In Bangalore, we recently launched Brigade Omega, on Kanakapura Road. Bangalore will witness a number of new launches from Brigade Group in the coming months.
Our association with Sporting Edge—an initiative of the legendary Australian cricketer, Steve Waugh—should be a great boon to the residents of Brigade Orchards and those living in its neighbourhood. Apart from cricket, Sporting Edge will set up Academies for swimming, athletics, football and basketball.
Brigade’s 'Experience Centre', set up on the ground floor of our headquarters at World Trade Center Bangalore, in the Brigade Gateway enclave, is a one-stop-shop for marketing properties promoted by Brigade Group, across cities. I hope this initiative will be appreciated by prospective customers.
Barack Obama continuing as the President of the USA for a second term is expected to bring stability to their economy. This should help Indian software companies, who have become the prime employment generators for the Indian educated middle class. This should also auger well for the property scene across the country.
Unfortunately, the political scene in our country continues to be unstable. It is extremely sad that an economy which was zipping ahead a few years back, is now limping along slowly due to complacency, lack of good governance and political fights. This ‘one step forward; two steps back’ approach by our government has hurt our growth badly, resulting in a widening gap between China and India. We, as Indians, are rich in potential, but poor in the ability to deliver.
While allowing FDI in retail is a step in the right direction, the number of onerous conditions imposed is unlikely to bring the desired results.
Narendra Modi's re-election in Gujarat for the third time has shown real development and good governance will be appreciated by all classes, castes and religions. This should be a great lesson for other states to follow; particularly Karnataka, which is continuing to suffer due to the political chaos in the state during the last few years. The saving grace is the availability of educated manpower, the good nature of people and salubrious climate in many parts of the state, particularly in Bangalore. This draws investment, in spite of the poor macro-environment.
The Reserve Bank of India, in its wisdom, is continuing to keep the interest rates high. This, of course, may be helping in containing inflation, but it is affecting GDP growth. Experts feel the high interest rate regime is likely to continue for the next few years. We should be grateful for the spirit of Indian entrepreneurs, who continue to remain positive and eager to perform, despite a plethora of not-so-friendly policies and an uncertain political climate.
Continuing atrocities against women in our country, particularly in the nation’s capital, are a matter of great concern. Only severe punishment and quick delivery of justice can help overcome the shameful problem.
Continents away, a culture of wild lawlessness seems to be making an entry into the USA. Their love for guns has created enough and more problems by way of inhuman killings. Despite this, no lessons seem to have been learnt, with the majority seemingly disinclined to bring about a change in gun control policies.
The expected 'End of the World' as per the Mayan calendar hasn’t happened … thankfully! Mankind has survived. We can relax and celebrate—and welcome the New Year. So here’s wishing all of you season’s greetings and a great 2013.