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 past few months have not been great for India, for that matter many parts of the world. Exception seems to be United States whose economy has seen substantial recovery in recent times. US being the largest economy in the world, brings a ray of hope to the rest of the countries, including India. There is a lot of turmoil in Europe due to the migrant crisis & terrorism, and they are busy grappling with the problem. While low oil prices have benefitted oil importing countries like India, it has created problems for several oil producing countries in the Middle East, South America and Russia. All this is bound to result in continued economic uncertainty witnessed across the world during the last few months.
While the Indian economy is in a relatively better shape with 7% plus GDP growth, it is likely to become a case of missed opportunities to reach double digit growth in spite of its huge potential. Other than creating the much needed positive sentiment, the single party majority government at the Centre hasn’t succeeded in kick starting major infra projects, in implementing majors policy changes and living up to the election promises made. It is rather sad that opposition parties have unfortunately blocked important initiatives like GST which could have had far reaching positive impact on the Indian economy and its GDP growth rate.
Even at the State & Civic authority levels, the progress in introducing policy improvements is painfully slow. Bangalore, which is internationally recognized, contributes more than 2/3rds of Karnataka State revenue. But, the State does not invest adequately to take care of the milch cow resulting in poor infrastructure, traffi c & garbage issues and inability to cope up with urban growth. Citizens can only hope that before it becomes too late (and allowing it to go down like Kolkata) the decision makers will wake up and act. It is too hurtful to witness the negative publicity our beautiful City gets in the national media.
Brigade Group is not a mute spectator and a critic. In recent times, we spent crores of rupees to make neighbourhood improvements - restored the 23 acre Sitharampalya Lake in Whitefi eld; developed a 3 acre citizens park & a 5 acre playground in Malleswaram; and installed a pedestrian bridge with escalators in Rajajinagar. It gave us immense satisfaction. These signifi cant eff orts were recognized recently by All India Real Estate Developers Association - CREDAI National - when they conferred the National Awards to BRIGADE in two categories - one for Environmental Impact and the other for Social Infrastructure.
Real Estate Management Bill, which was in the offi ng since 2013 should become a reality soon. It is bound to protect the customers by answering their concerns and regulate the way business is conducted by the Developers. It is pro long term players and anti ‘fl y-by-night’ operators. Even then, developers fear that it will add time & cost to launch projects and may become one more window to face harassment, as the Bill contains several draconian clauses for non-compliance.
With excess stock and a ‘status quo’ economy, real estate prices are depressed in general and stable in few cities like Bangalore. For a prudent investor, it is a good time to buy. With deposit rates coming down, Bank deposits are not attractive; with US Dollar gaining strength, Gold is losing its luster; with Stock market being very volatile, it has become too risky for a non- professional operator.
Whatever may be the external factors, hope is what keeps an optimist going. Let us hope 2016 will bring us cheer!
Wishing our readers the Very Best in the year ahead - 2016.