A Few Thoughts
There is no shortage of challenges and excitement – be it in the world or in a country or in an organisation or in one’s personal life
Our world, hit by the dreaded Wuhan Virus for the last two years has seen 550 million people affected by the virus; 6.3 million people succumbing to it (including one million in the USA alone) and with 20 million active cases still troubling people and governments. We did encounter the 3rd wave, ‘Omicron’ variant. Thankfully, due to vaccinating a few billion people, the negative impact (except in China) was much less. Our own country has done quite well to contain the Covid Virus because of the sensible approach of our general population (unlike many developed countries) resulting in more than 1800 million vaccinations administered to people. Kudos to the sheer determination of our Central and State Governments, and to the efforts of our doctors and health workers. While this should not result in complacency in following health safety protocols, thankfully day-to-day life is moving towards normalcy.
As if the health emergency is not sufficient, an undesired and terrible war is going on in Ukraine for more than four months due to Russian aggression. There seems to be no end in sight.
One can only hope and pray that it won’t expand to other countries and regions. The bloody war has displaced more than 15 million Ukrainians and has erased establishments and towns; killed thousands of soldiers and civilians; and has resulted in the loss of more than 100 billion dollars to infrastructure and properties.
Most inhuman act by the aggressor. The beneficiaries, as always, are defence, ammunition and equipment manufacturers (it has helped clear their stockpile); petroleum oil producers and many basic metal producers – aluminium, copper, nickel, steel, etc. Most businesses are paying the price due to the disruption caused by the war, resulting in increase in production costs. The full impact of the war is yet to be felt by the general public. In our country, cost of petrol has breached INR 100 per litre of petrol, for the first time. Once petroleum product prices go up, it will have a cascading effect on every other product. GDP growth of India, which was expected to be 9% in FY23, is already forecasted downwards to 7% or even less.
Residential real estate which was cruising well after every virus variant and lockdown, is being hit by a huge jump in construction costs – to give just one example, the price of construction steel has shockingly gone up by 80-100% since February’22! Furthermore, cost of several other inputs that go into construction. This is bound to have an impact of at least 10% in increase in selling prices in Southern Indian markets. Added to this, the general inflation is going up and has breached 7% already, resulting in hardening of bank interest rates, which means home loan rates will start inching up.
Brigade has done fairly well in FY22 in all the four SBUs we operate in – Residential, Office, Retail and Hospitality – in spite of the challenges, and considering we could not launch many new projects. We are hoping and working towards a brighter FY23.
We had the privilege of installing and unveiling the statue of the great Bharat Ratna Sir M. Visvesvaraya, opposite the Brigade School in Brigade Gateway campus. Sir MV’s achievements should surely inspire the next-gen.
Brigade and its people have received a number of recognitions during the past few months. Special mention is that of our Exec. Director, Nirupa being recognised by the Economic Times Jury ‘40 Under 40’, nationally. Also, with some amount of pride, I can mention that Bangalore City University conferred on me ‘Honoris Causa Degree’ (Doctorate) for the work done in ‘Infrastructure Development and Philanthropic Approach for Social Cause’. Naturally, I dedicate this recognition to my entire team at Brigade.
Lastly, let me hope against hope that the Ukraine war will end soon; the Corona Virus will not become virulent again, and businesses and people will be able to carry on with their lives more peacefully