Our world is in turmoil. The mindless war in Ukraine continues. The number of Covid cases across the world has gone up to 650 million with 1% mortality. In other words, about 6.5 million deaths. The numbers are going up in the United States and more particularly in China – thebirthplace of the Wuhan virus.
With inflation levels inchingtowards double digits in Europe and parts of America, talk of recession in the western world is gaining momentum. Our country, by and large, seems to be insulated. The question is for how long will we be insulated in this globalised world. Only time will tell. Despite what is going on around us, Indian stock indices have reached an all-time high! It is an enigma. There is money with the Indian public with few options to invest. Unfortunately, big investments in the industrial sector are not happening to the desired extent to match the government’s expectations. Probably, Indian businessmen feel the risk factors are high based on macro indicators with impending elections in many States during 2023, and the Parliamentary elections in 2024, which is not far away. To reduce inflationary effects, Central Banks across the world, led by the US Federal Reserve, have increased the base interest rates significantly. The Reserve Bank of India has followed suit. The full effect of increased interest rates is yet to be felt by the business community. However, it is bound to hit profit-ability across sectors and the risk factors of higher borrowing will only increase.
In such a scenario, the Indian real estate sector is holding the fort and has shown a lot of resilience. The residential sector continues to do well. Business in retail malls and multiplexes is at an all-time high. Hotel occupancies and ADRs have also bounced back and have exceeded pre-COVID levels in many cases. The only area of concern is office leasing business, where companies in the IT sector are showing cautious approach and postponing major decisions. Employment generation is a key factor for the health of real estate business. However, Indian companies in the software sector and GCCs (Global Capability Centres) expect higher offshoring over time to ensure companies profitability is maintained in their home countries.
Having received all approvals for our residential projects – Brigade Valencia on Hosur Road and Brigade Calista on Budigere Road, the team is geared up to launch both large sized projects in the new year. Response to our maiden large plotted development project – Brigade Oasis on Devanahalli to Doddaballapur Road is very encouraging, having sold the 1st phase in a short period.
Succession in leadership is a necessity at various levels in any organisation. The time has come for me to take a step back from day-to-day routine activities. Having crossed 67 years in age, our Board of Directors have decided to elevateExecutive Directors Pavitra and Nirupa to Managing Director and Joint Managing Director, respectively. They are both eminently qualified with MBA degrees from Ivy League colleges – Columbia Business School and Cornell Business School, and each with more than 15 years’ work experience. They are both young, energetic, full of ideas and ready to work hard. I will continue as Executive Chairman.
I am happy and proud that FKCCI (Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry) conferred on me the ‘Bharat Ratna Sir M. Visvesvaraya Memorial Award 2022’ on his birth anniversary, September 15, which is also celebrated in his honour as ‘Engineers Day’, across the country. It is in recognition of my services and contribution in the construction and building sector, as well as in the fields of education, health, community development, social and philanthropic work. I dedicate this recognition to all in Brigade Group. Without the support of Brigadiers, it was impossible to achieve, whatever has been achieved.
Lastly, I wish all the Brigade stake-holders season’s greetings, and the very best during the New Year 2023. We need a Santa Claus for the business sector also.
—Jaishankar CMD, Brigade.
SINCE our previous issue, much has changed in India’s political scenario. Thankfully, a single political party, for the first time in 30 years, has secured majority in the world's largest parliamentary election. Sri Narendra Modi's win has surpassed the BJP's own expectations. The positive sentiment it has created can be judged by the way the stock market has reacted and from the poll results to Team Modi's 100 days in government. Our elected representatives have a long way to go in enabling the Indian economy to reach its potential and in converting expectations into reality. The challenge of making the 'elephant in slumber' run is huge; but it is possible, judging by Deng Xio Ping achievements in China in the 1980s. The Indian economy needs to be unshackled from bureaucratic controls and inconsistent policies. By implementing forward looking policies, the government should assume the role of a good facilitator, encouraging business and industry to flourish. One hopes the lack of a good monsoon will not adversely affect progress, given the historical fact that the share of the services sector in the Indian economy has been more than that of the agriculture sector.
With a few exceptions, the effect of improved sentiment in the economy has not yet had a positive effect on the Indian real estate sector. In any case, due to its very nature, the real estate business is slow to react—unlike the stock market or gold, which are always regarded as alternative investments to real estate. But considering our Prime Minister's desire to provide 'housing for all' by 2022 (the 75th year of Indian independence), the potential seems to be immense. The task, however, is daunting. The government should also aim to provide clean air, clean water, good sanitation and electricity to the entire population. Why should Indians be deprived of the same quality of life that we see people enjoying on our travels to the Far East, Europe and America? Indian citizens certainly deserve better facilities.
A significant development at Brigade Group is, of course, the understanding with GIC of Singapore to jointly invest up to INR 1500 crores in real estate projects. It is a show of confidence in a relationship that began with our joint acquisition and development of the Brigade Cosmopolis property. I hope and wish the association becomes stronger in the years ahead.
The internationally recognised Great Place to Work Institute and Economic Times have, for the fourth consecutive year, rated Brigade Group as one of the best places to work. We have been ranked second amongst real estate companies and 87th amongst all companies rated in the country. It is a satisfying recognition of our efforts to create a good working atmosphere for our people.
As part of our CSR, we have installed—for the first time in Bangalore—a pedestrian skywalk with escalators on Dr Rajkumar Road, in front of Orion Mall, for the convenience and safety of the general public. If we are to tackle the problem of indiscriminate pedestrian movement across our roads, the city should have more skywalks and subways, preferably with escalators.
Responses to pre-launch bookings for Brigade Panorama, Mysore Road and Brigade Northridge, near Yelahanka, have been good. The same is the case at Brigade Mountain View, Mysore. We are happy to note that handing over of the first set of apartments to clients has started at Brigade Meadows, our large integrated project on Kanakapura Road.
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