Karnataka, housing 60% of India's biotech firms and over 350 medical device manufacturers, strategically located KHIR near Bengaluru, a rapidly growing global innovation hub.
The Karnataka government is in the early stages of conceptualising the development of a Knowledge, Healthcare, Innovation, and Research (KHIR) City on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The project aims to attract a substantial investment of INR 40,000 Cr in the healthcare, innovation, and knowledge sectors, with the potential to create 80,000 jobs within the proposed KHIR City.
The new investment region is planned to span 2,000 acres within 60 kilometres from Bengaluru and will be developed in a phased manner.
Addressing the Ideation Session for the establishment of KHIR City, MB Patil, the Minister for Large and Medium Industries and Infrastructure Development, said, "Apart from ensuring job creation and attracting investments from leading global and Indian hospitals, research centres, universities, and private companies, the initiative has the potential to contribute towards the state's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to increased economic activity. Besides attracting investments, it is aimed at contributing at least INR 1 Lakh Cr to the state GDP."
Leaders from Indian healthcare, medical education, real estate, financial services, and insurance sectors participated in the ideation session, providing valuable suggestions.
With Karnataka already home to 60% of India's biotech companies and over 350 medical devices and supplies manufacturers, the development of KHIR near Bengaluru, a rapidly growing innovation cluster globally, is strategically positioned.
Priyank Kharge, Minister for IT/BT and S&T, emphasised the unique nature of KHIR City, envisioning it as a hub where innovators from healthcare, knowledge, and global research centres converge.
The government is considering a separate policy to promote medical tourism in the state, with plans to position KHIR City as a global reference point akin to Singapore's Biopolis Cluster or Japan's Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster.
Dr C N Manjunath, director of Jayadeva Institute of Cardiac Sciences, emphasised the need for building a neurology institute and genetics within the state, citing the expense of sending such services to other states and countries.
Industry representatives suggested that the government focus on improving workers' skills in the state, which is crucial for the success of the knowledge city. They also recommended focusing on life sciences and proposed a roadshow to attract capital into this sector.
Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, founder and chairman of Narayana Health, emphasised the urgent need for a Paramedical university, saying, "There is a shortage of 50-70 million healthcare workers in the country. We want to set that up in the country because it is the nurses and other staff that take care of the patient and not the doctors."
The establishment of KHIR City marks a transformative step for Karnataka, signalling its commitment to becoming a global hub for healthcare, innovation, and research, with potential benefits for the economy and the overall well-being of its residents.
In another development, the Karnataka government entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AstraZeneca Pharma India to implement AI-based lung cancer screening technology.
This technology, developed by health-tech startup 'Qure.ai', can screen patients for 29 different lung diseases in a single chest X-ray. The primary goal of this initiative is to address a critical early detection challenge by identifying lung nodules, which can be precursors to lung cancer.