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."
—Jaishankar CMD, Brigade.
The last 7-8 months have been the most challenging in this millennium. Economies the world over have been badly affected. Relatively speaking, India is less affected than the western economies and countries whose GDP is exportdependent. Indian exports comprise less than 20% of our GDP, as compared to 40% in the case of China and about 60% in the case of East Asian economies like Japan. Though, by and large, India is perceived as less dynamic and aggressive during the boom time, in the present circumstances, the country would be classified as conservative, wise and not greedy. Probably, the same rationale is applicable to Brigade Group also.
When will the economy recover to its previous glory? In my opinion, not in the immediate future, although one can say with reasonable confidence that the worst is behind us. There are several predictions that in 6–18 months, there will be a marked improvement in the world economy. A lot will depend on the US, which is the world’s largest economy, with its GDP 14 times bigger than India and with less than 30% of the population of our country.
The response by the developed countries to the global recession has been swift and substantial, which has helped in preventing the ‘recession’ from becoming a ‘depression’. Other than reduction of interest rates by 2-3%, the Indian government hasn’t taken many positive steps, as compared to say China, which is pumping in USD 250 billion+ to stimulate their economy. The biggest impetus to the Indian economy seems to come from unexpected quarters—parliamentary elections! An estimated Rs 10-15,000 crores is likely to be spent before 31 May. One shudders to think what kind of a fractured coalition of parties will come to govern us soon. We should all pray for a stable and progressive government at the centre.
As regards interest rates, since the inflation has been brought to under 1%, there seems to be tremendous scope and opportunity to bring it down further—at least by 2%. Interest rates should always be a function of inflation rate and GDP growth rate.
The welcome news is that Swiss banks and banks in other tax havens are willing to announce the names of the account holders. If the billions of dollars stashed away by corrupt businessmen, officials and politicians comes back to our country, it will be the biggest stimulus package we would receive to revive the economy.
Negative sentiments are on the downward mode, as can be gauged by the 50% jump in stock sensex in the last 2 months. But one can never be sure whether it is due to technical reasons and manipulations by the operators, or due to improved fundamentals of the companies. Even the real estate business has shown good signs of recovery from March onwards, though it is one of the last sectors to recover since the decision to acquire a property can always be postponed. But, a smart investor will treat the current situation as an opportunity to pickup good properties at reasonable rates. For those who missed the bus in 2002-04, this is the right time to buy.
As for NRIs, they cannot ask for more. It is a golden opportunity, what with the rupee depreciating by 25% in value against dollar (compared to January ‘08) and property prices having come down between 15-25%, depending on projects. Fence sitters are bound to regret it, if they don’t act now.
Brigade Group achieved a major milestone on 4 April ’09, with the opening of its 4-star serviced residences, with the internationally reputed Accor Group managing the co-branded property: Mercure Homestead. The positive feedback on the quality of rooms, F & B, and facilities like gym, spa and swimming pool is heartwarming.
June ‘09 will also see the opening of a second school—The Brigade International School—by Brigade Group’s not-for-profit trust, the Brigade Foundation. It is a boon for the residents of Whitefield and surrounding areas to get quality education with great infrastructure and convenience at a reasonable fee structure.
Team Brigade is making all efforts to quickly complete our flagship projects—Brigade Metropolis, Whitefield Road and Brigade Gateway, Malleswaram-Rajajinagar—which are in an advanced stage of execution. So also Brigade Courtyard in HMT Township, Brigade Palmsprings in J.P. Nagar, and Brigade Solitaire and Brigade Citadel in Mysore. I thank all our customers for showing their confidence, patience and support.