Public spending on health in India amounts to just 4 percent of GDP, less than Afghanistan, according to the WHO.
A lack of private insurance and a public system that has “collapsed” according to the country’s rural development minister, means an estimated 70 percent of healthcare spending is borne by Indians out of their own pockets.
So is Shetty a sharp-witted businessman who has spotted a gap in the market or a philanthropist?
“We believe that charity is not scalable. If you give anything free of cost, it is a matter of time before you run out of money, and people are not asking for anything free,” he said.
His first foreign venture is a hospital on the Cayman Islands, targeting locals who would normally travel to the US for expensive treatment, and he says he would love to expand into Africa.