The Karnataka government is deliberating on the conceptualization of the development of a Knowledge, Healthcare, Innovation and Research (KHIR) City on the outskirts of Bengaluru – aimiing to attract Rs 40,000 crore investment in the areas of healthcare, innovation and knowledge sectors besides creating 80,000 jobs in the proposed city.
The new investment region will be spread over 2,000 acres within 60 kms from Bengaluru and developed in a phased manner.
Addressing the Ideation Session for setting up KHIR City, M B Patil, minister for large and medium industries and infrastructure development, said, “We are embarking on a transformative journey to build a city that goes beyond conventional boundaries — a Knowledge, Healthcare, Innovation & Research City (KHIR City).”
He said, “Today, we have a diverse and influential group gathered here — from the government, medical institutes, private companies, research centers, and academia, to the strategic investment committee of Karnataka. It’s a convergence of minds that holds tremendous potential and I believe, collectively, we possess the potential to create not just a city but a hub of excellence.”
Apart from ensuring job creation and attracting investments from leading global and Indian hospitals and research centere, 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 Rs 1 lakh crore to the state GDP,” Patil said.
The captains of Indian industry drawn from healthcare, medical education, real estate, financial services and insurance sectors attended the ideation session and shared their suggestions.
The industry representatives such as Kris Gopalakrishnan, Devi Prasad Shetty, C N Manjunath, Gitanjali Kirloskar, Prashant Prakash, Nitin Kamath, Deepak Venugopalan, Sharan Prakash Patil, and L S Shashidhar among others participated in the session.
The proposed KHIR City is being developed to attract investments from leading global and national hospitals, research institutions, universities, private companies, etc. This will help in strengthening Bengaluru’s position as a hub of medical tourism, providing employment to local people, and also help in attracting skill sets from across the globe.
“Bengaluru has the largest skilled talent pool in India and is best suited for development of KHIR City. Karnataka has a strong innovation ecosystem with many global companies’ R&D units set up here. Leading healthcare players are already present in the state. About 60% of India’s biotech companies are in Karnataka,” said Patil.
With Karnataka being home to 60% of India’s biotech companies and over 350 medical devices and supplies manufacturers across categories, the development of KHIR near Bengaluru, the fastest-growing innovation cluster globally, augurs as an ideal location.
KHIR City is poised to redefine the city’s global position by fostering the growth of cutting-edge knowledge institutions, healthcare facilities, innovation hubs, and research centers.
Karnataka is already among top five states in India in terms of economic value and contributes about 8.7 percent to the National GDP. Such initiatives further strengthen the state’s position in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Priyank Kharge, minister for IT/BT, and S&T, said the KHIR City will be the first such center of knowledge which will have innovators from healthcare, knowledge and global research centere coming together in one place. “Bengaluru will transform from being a call center of the world to global center of research and innovation,” he said.
The government is planning to come out with a separate policy to promote the medical tourism in the state, said Kharge.
The state is home to 350 medical device and suppliers across categories and multiple institutes of excellence are present providing collaboration opportunity, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Kris Gopalkrishnan, co-founder of Infosys and chairman of Axilor Ventures said, “The implementation speed is important for the development of KHIR City. We need to first develop a metro station before the KHIR City takes shape. Also, we want to generate IPs owned by India or Karnataka so that jobs and wealth is created here. We need to have an institute which trains scientists and researchers on how to move from lab to market.”
The establishment of KHIR City has a strong global reference point with the Government of Karnataka aiming to bring this research city in line with Singapore’s Biopolis Cluster or Japan’s Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster.
For this, the Government of Karnataka is agile in terms of participation of private companies offering them formats via land lease model, special-project-vehicle and fully private models.
The collaboration effort for KHIR City would involve a comprehensive plan and a clear objective from the interested entity along with timelines. The establishment of subgroups for strategic approach is also part of the collaboration along with commercial viability to ensure balanced private and government participation.
“We can also think of miniaturizing this model in revenue division and whole objective is to promote job, talent, knowledge in regions like Mysuru, etc. There is a need to build neurology institute and genetics here as it is expensive to send it to other states and countries,” said Dr C N Manjunath, director of Jayadeva Institute of Cardiac Sciences.
The industry representatives suggested to the government to look at improving the skills of workers in the state that will be required for the setting up of knowledge city. They also suggested to focus on life sciences and look at holding a roadshow to attract capital into this sector.
“We should focus on IP-based research in this City. Transitioning Karnataka from services economy to higher value IP-based economy is very important. We need to incentivize job creation. We should focus on giving incentives to people who create IP and this will differentiate Karnataka from other states in the country,” said Prashanth Prakash, Partner at Accel Partners.
“It is very important that hospital groups are partners in this city. Today largest investment is in healthcare startups but they do not understand how hospitals work. Once this city supports them, then the product that comes out in the market will bring startups and end user together,” said Devi Prasad Shetty, founder and chairman of Narayana Health.
“There is shortage of 50-70 million healthcare workers in the country. A Paramedical university is the urgent need. We want to set that up in the country because it is the nurses and other staff that takes care of the patient and not the doctors,” Dr Shetty added.
S Selvakumar, principal secretary to the government, department of commerce and industries, Ekroop Caur, secretary, ITBT and S&T, Gunjan Krishna, commissioner, Department of Commerce and Industries, government of Karnataka, and other officials of the government were present on the occasion.