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.
Completion of 30 years in business is a significant milestone. One would have seen many highs & lows and weathered many a storm. It was no different for Brigade. What started as a single project venture has grown into what it is today. While I look back at the achievements, accolades, awards and landmarks created during the last 30 years, with a sense of pride & satisfaction, I realise that it is more important to look forward on what needs to be done, to continue to survive, grow & flourish to meet the aspirations of all stakeholders, for the next 30 years. It is a happy coincidence and a fitting tribute that during the 30th year of our operations, we completed 30 projects (across residential, office, retail & hospitality segments) adding up to 10 million sq.ft. in area.
Today, we are living in an interconnected, globalised world with very high customer awareness about what’s happening around us & in other parts of the world, resulting in increased expectation in the quality of products and services desired. While, we are working hard to meet the exacting expectations of customers and other stakeholders, at Brigade, we are also conscious of the fact that we need to give back to the society, that has supported us. Towards this end, Brigade has taken up three key initiatives - to plant 30,000 trees across our various projects, to build 30 toilets in schools which need them and to start a Skill Development Centre focussed in the areas of construction, hospitality and retail.
Disruptions Galore - the last few weeks the world and India has witnessed multiple disruptions and is going to witness even more, which will have a huge impact in the way companies do business. While the world was coming to terms with BREXIT, the unexpected election of Mr. Donald Trump as President of the world’s most powerful economy, United States, has come as a shock due to his unpredictable policies. If Mr. Trump sticks to his pre-election promise on Immigration, Make in America & Anti-outsourcing policies, many developing countries, including India will be affected, adversely.
As if this wasn’t enough, on 8th November 2016, our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi announced the most disruptive policy - demonetisation of INR 500 & 1,000 currency. While the intention is noble (to eliminate fake currency, to curb black money in elections & business, to fight corruption and to move towards a cashless way of doing transactions), the immediate result is one of disruption in day-to-day activities. While I wholeheartedly support this bold initiative and pray for its success, the worrying factor is that, the business sentiment has turned negative. Hopefully, it is a temporary phenomenon and the positives of the policy initiative should outweigh the negatives. Only time will tell.
Two other forward looking Acts of the Central Government will have huge disruptive implications - RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Act) & GST (Goods & Services Tax). Both are likely to become a reality by April-May 2017. RERA should help streamline the real estate business and has many provisions to protect the interest of the customers.
Unfortunately, many draconian provisions are proposed against the developer which may lead to increased harassment & higher corruption. While the intention behind introduction of RERA is laudable, the implementation of the Act will be a cause for worry. It is likely to increase the overall cost for the developer & customer alike, due to compliance costs and added finance cost required, because of additional time for project approvals by RERA authority. Due to onerous provisions of RERA, hopefully the so called ‘fly by night’ developers will disappear from the scene and that should help organised developers to pursue business in a more professional environment.
Similarly, the GST Law should help streamline the tax administration in the country and it should help bring down the overall impact of duties & taxes on many products, thereby making Indian businesses more competitive. It should also help bring, larger number of business establishments under the tax net.
All the three initiatives of the Central Government - Demonetisation, RERA & GST are highly commendable, but will have a huge disruptive effect on the way companies have been doing business so far. Their impact on the country’s economy is expected to be very positive. The detractors must realise that there is ‘no gain without pain’.
As we enter the new year - 2017, one must realise that in this globalised world, one needs to be ready, to adapt to the constantly changing environment. Change seems to be the new certainty. Towards this end, Brigade has initiated the ‘Real Estate Accelerator Programme’ (Brigade REAP) to encourage, mentor & support ‘Start Ups’ in our area of operation.
Wishing all our readers & stakeholders Season’s Greetings and the very best during the New Year!
2016 has been a challenging year so far for companies, the state, the country & the world. Most countries in the world are struggling with troubled economies. The silver lining seems to be, United States, whose GDP is growing at a healthy rate of 3%, plus considering it is the largest economy contributing to 25% of the world’s economy. Though China’s GDP is growing at 6.5% & India’s at 7.5%, both countries have the problem of excess manufacturing capacities which were built to meet the expected demand of higher growth rates. India’s growth rate is questionable after the government changed the base data for calculations. What is surprising & distressing is that the State of Karnataka, generally considered as a progressive state, had a growth rate of 6.5% last year, which is below the national average.
The Central Budget - 2016, in general, was a commendable exercise by the Finance Minister. He was able to deftly handle many difficult issues. Thanks to the benefit the country is deriving from low oil prices in the international market, we can only hope that industrial growth picks up the way it is expected by the Government. It is sad that most State Government’s are not keeping pace with the vision of the Prime Minister and the efforts of the Central Government, to give a bigger push to the Indian economy.
The Central Budget has done its bit to give a push to the Real Estate Sector, particularly to affordable housing. So also, the much talked about Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS), which should help unlock a lot of capital for commercial property developers and help bring in foreign exchange to the country. However, the concept of Smart Cities requires more clarity and much more fund allocation for the initiative to succeed.
5 State Governments are in election mode. The results are important to the present Government at the Centre to implement many major policy initiatives – GST for example. One wonders why so much of governance time is lost due for conducting elections at the Centre, State & Civic bodies at different times? If elections are held together for all, huge saving of resources and time could be achieved. The Indian election commission has the capability & has already excelled in conducting National & State elections very efficiently.
With bank interest rates in the downward mode, if the ruling party in the Centre does well in the State elections & gains majority in the Rajya Sabha, and if the country receives good monsoon during the next few months, there is no reason why the consumer & investment sentiment should not change for the better very quickly.
With this hope, optimism for the future continues.
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