Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is indeed a festival to celebrate the victory of Good over Evil. This is aptly demonstrated by the elimination of the ISIS leader, thanks to the relentless American efforts. What a contrast between a violent leader and a leader who is an epitome of non-violence!
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resounding election victory, one expected the growth of the Indian economy to go northwards at a faster rate. Unfortunately, that is not the case. It appears that the laws of economics are stronger than the wishes of the population. To me, it seems like a cyclical slowdown affecting the economy, and it appears like a 10-year business cycle. Our country did witness economic slowdown / recession, particularly for the real estate sector, during the years 1988-1991, 1998-2001, 2008-2011 and now. The current recessionary cycle for real estate started quite early in 2016-2017 due to DeMo, the introduction of RERA & GST. The slowdown has taken a huge toll with few large and most one-time, small-medium sized developers exiting the real estate sector. The complexity of doing business has vastly increased due to regulatory changes and challenges. It is seriously, not for the weak-hearted.
Thankfully Brigade, with its diverse portfolio, but more importantly due to following its core corporate values, is managing not only to survive but also to grow. Recessionary & slowdown times create a lot of opportunities for the wise and people with money. This is the time for smart people to make investments but after a proper study of the pros & cons. There are many good real estate projects worthy of investment in our portfolio. While preparing to launch new projects in Chennai & Hyderabad, our focus has been to complete many ongoing commercial & residential projects, apart from launching the next phase of large projects in Bengaluru.
I am delighted to mention that the Indian Music Experience was formally launched with an outstanding music event by Padma Bhushan Ustad Zakir Hussain on the 27th of July 2019. I am elated with the continued appreciation for the concept & content of IME by all those who have visited the museum. It has encouraged the team to work harder and innovate more.
I am also very happy to have signed an MoU with the reputed St. John’s Hospital to set up a ‘Not for Profit’ Health Centre to start with, and a Hospital subsequently for the benefit of the neighbourhood at our large residential project - Brigade Meadows, in Bengaluru South.
Season’s Greetings & Best Wishes for 2020.
—Jaishankar CMD, Brigade.
I am delighted and proud that the Indian Music Experience (IME) - conceived, supported & developed by Brigade - is complete and open to public. Though it took nearly 10 years, the end result is excellent and very satisfying. It has received and is continuing to receive appreciation from many critics, music experts & general public who visit the museum. See pages 28 to 31 for more information. I think it is one of Brigade Group’s profound contributions to the city of Bangalore and to enhance India’s cultural heritage. Due to the very nature of the project, IME received quick financial support from the Central & Karnataka Governments, many banks, corporates and philanthropists. I am grateful to each one of them. What is required is more & more people to earmark their time to visit the museum in this busy world.
Results of Indian Parliamentary elections, is bound to have far reaching impact on the future of the country for the next 5 years and probably many more years. Managing 900 million voters is a daunting task, which the Indian Election Commission has mastered like nobody else in this world. What is required is stability and a strong purposeful leadership to take this country of 1.2 billion people forward. Our country was the major economy of the world 4 centuries back but lost its position due to colonial rule and missing industrial revolution. While it is poised to become the 3rd largest economy of the world in the next decade, per capita income must cross US$ 5000 for poverty to be eliminated.
During the last 3 years, Real Estate Sector has been facing the brunt of the Government’s policies - DeMo, RERA & GST. Though some aspects of the policies are positive, it did unsettle the Sector for couple of years. While business was appearing to return to normalcy, the GST Council has made major changes in GST rates, methodology & treatment for residential real estate. One fails to understand the logic of these changes which goes against the very essence & principle of GST. While, in its wisdom, the intent may have been to reduce the impact of GST for housing, the changes effective from April are counterproductive except for premium housing (square foot rate of Rs 10,000 & more. See page 56 for more information. Unwittingly, it is a wrong step towards reaching ‘Housing for all’. It will be a challenge to make customers understand the real negative impact of recent changes in GST for residential sector. Hope the GST Council realises this anomaly and takes corrective steps soon. So also, the anomaly on GST rate of 28% on Cement, which is a major ingredient for civil construction industry. 28% rate is meant only for ‘luxury’ & ‘sin’ goods. Big question - Is using Cement in construction a ‘sin’? Good to get an opinion pool.
The last few months saw a flurry of new initiatives at Brigade. Starting with signing an MoU with the Government of Tamil Nadu to set up World Trade Center (WTC) Chennai and an MoU with Government of Kerala to set up WTC at Thiruvananthapuram. Also, the launch of Art Café at Brigade Gateway and most importantly our foray into Co-working business segment with the launch of BuzzWorks!
The last two quarters also witnessed the completion of 10 projects - Brigade Lakefront (2nd Phase), Brigade Tech Gardens (1st Phase), Plumeria @ Brigade Meadows, Brigade Panorama, Arcade, Cedar & Deodar @ Brigade Orchards, Brigade Atmosphere (1st Phase), Brigade Symphony (2nd Phase), Mysore and our 1st hotel in Kerala, Four Points by Sheraton, Kochi InfoPark.
Our new project Brigade Cornerstone Utopia, a 6 million Sq.ft. mixed-use development in 47 acre will be very unique and is bound to become a major landmark in Whitefield zone. Response to the pre-launch was very encouraging. Few other major launches in the next few months will be Brigade El Dorado, in Aerospace Park near Bangalore Airport, Premium Residences @ WTC Chennai and 2nd Phase of Brigade Xanadu, Chennai.
With sincere hope for a good monsoon, a good and stable Government at the centre for a better India, I convey my best wishes to all our associates, customers & staff, and seek their continued support.