UAE based BRS Ventures, a venture capital fund set up by Non Resident Indian (NRI) billionaire B R Shetty plans to invest $5 billion in creating and developing high-quality healthcare facilities across India. Shetty, one of the early functionaries of Jan Sangh (predecessor of ruling BJP) in his home town Udupi, Karnataka says the investment will help establish a chain of healthcare facilities including management of government district and general hospitals all over India in the next five years.
"I have made provision for a $5 billion fund for India, and I am getting good offers (for partnerships from state governments, not-for-profit organisations, religious organisations etc.,) to set up high quality, affordable healthcare facilities that follow ethical practices", he says.
"We are already in talks to set up hospitals in places like Delhi, Varanasi, Haridwar and Bihar (near Patna). The land will either be purchased or will be handed over by the government or other partners", Shetty said.
In an exclusive interaction with Business Today, Shetty said he is already managing a government hospital in his hometown Udupi. "I have taken a 70 bedded government hospital and made it into a 200 bedded mother and child hospital which is centrally air-conditioned. The treatment is free, we have no cashier in that hospital", he says.
Shetty is not a newcomer in the healthcare business. He is the founder of NMC Healthcare, the largest private healthcare company in the UAE. In the last 46 years, NMC has expanded its operations to over 200 healthcare facilities that include hospitals, medical centres, long term care facilities, day surgery centres, fertility clinics and home health services in 17 countries across the world.
The Indian healthcare operations of B R Shetty come under the BR Life brand. In addition to the Government of Karnataka Koosamma Shambhu Shetty Memorial Haji Abdullah Mother and Child Hospital in Udupi, BR Life runs three other healthcare facilities in India. While BR SUT Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala marked the group's foray into India in 2001, the others are a 400 bedded SSNMC Super Specialty Hospital in Bengaluru and Kalinga Super Specialty Hospital, Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Overall, BR Life has a current capacity of around 1,500 beds in India. It plans to manage around 20,000 beds in the near future.
NMC was also the first company from Abu Dhabi to list on the London Stock Exchange and is now a part of the premium FTSE 100 Index, an elite club of top 100 blue-chip companies by market cap. NMC claims to have put the key components in place to create a strong, inter-connected, integrated multi-vertical and multi-brand private healthcare network with the scalability and flexibility for future growth.
It has a team of over 2,000 doctors and 20,000 paramedical and support personnel, across its network. "Every year, over 8.5 million patients are treated by NMC doctors across UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Kenya, Seychelles, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Latvia, Sweden, Slovakia, USA, Colombia and Brazil", it states.
Shetty is also the chairman of Finablr, the company that holds UAE exchange, a global money transfer, foreign exchange and payment solutions provider and Travelex, the world's leading foreign exchange specialist.
Before he moved to UAE in early 70s, Shetty had successfully contested Udupi Municipal Corporation elections on Jan Sangh ticket to become its vice-chairman.