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.
How things dramatically change in a very short time! The three very significant developments in the last few weeks are:
S&P downgrading Credit Rating of United States from AAA to AA+ and the resultant turmoil in world financial markets;
Central Government’s clueless and immature response to Anna Hazare's movement against corruption;
Dramatic collapse of performance of Indian Cricket Team—from World Champion status to school boys team level.
All were avoidable and self-inflicted; due to complacency, arrogance and politics. But all the developments have shaken the world / country / establishment. It would take quite a while for normalcy to set in.
India was on the path of recovery from the recessionary conditions of 2008-2010, till inflation within the country and multiple scams involving thousands of crores were unearthed. Naturally, an anti-corruption movement is required to cleanse the system, at least to some extent. While corruption is a worldwide problem and existing probably from the time civilization started, it has reached mind boggling and dangerous proportions in our country, which is bound to destroy us if not tackled now. I hope and pray a positive outcome will emerge from the spontaneous, tremendous and voluntary support the Anna Hazare movement has received.
From the beginning of 2011, the mood in the real estate sector was one of optimism, which was expected to turn to bullishness. Unfortunately, due to the macro economic factors plaguing the world, cautiousness has set in. High interest rates have not helped the mood at all. I hope and wish there will not be any worsening of global factors and ratings. Due to the inherent strength of the Indian economy and latent unsatisfied demand of the past 3-4 years, pessimism is unlikely to set in.
Tourism is one industry which can have a far reaching positive impact on any economy and will help in generating employment in the unorganised sector for the uneducated class. Statistics of just Singapore and Hong Kong make startling revelations. Singapore, with its 5 million population (size less than Bangalore), attracts 12.5 million tourists (2.5 times its population). Hong Kong, with its 7 million population, attracts 36 million tourists (5 times its population). Whereas, India, with 1.2 billion population, gets only 5 million tourists, i.e., a dismal 0.05%. China gets 56 million tourists and earns USD 185 billion a year (about the same as the entire annual export earnings of India). India has the potential to earn at least USD 100 billion (if not more) in a year, provided proper strategic actions are taken by the Central and State Governments to improve infrastructure and tourist friendliness. India has many, many more tourist sites than China.
I am delighted to mention that Brigade has received 3 important awards in the last 4 months:
‘Economic Times’, in association with ‘Great Places to Work Institute’, rated Brigade Group as the 2nd best company to work for in the Real Estate Sector, and also as 88 among all companies in the country.
‘CNBCAwaaz–CRISIL–CREDAI’ selected our Integrated Township Project, Brigade Metropolis on Whitefield Road, as the Best Residential Project 2010 in South India.
‘Construction World’ rated us amongst the Top 10 Builders in the country for the 5th consecutive time, in a perception survey in which developers, financial institutions, architects and vendors, across the country participated.
The festival season has started. I hope it brings cheer to the Indian economy and joy to its citizens.