The Kalyani cohort created in 2010 by the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, West Bengal, India, is designed to serve as a platform for conducting prospective basic and translational studies on epidemiology and genomics of health and disease-related parameters, particularly of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The overall goal is to assess behavioural, biological, genetic, social and environmental factors and obtain necessary evidence for effective health improvement. Collected baseline data comprise 15727 individuals, >14 years of age from seven municipal wards in the Kalyani and Gayeshpur regions. Data are being collected on demographics, current health status, medical history and health-related behaviours. Blood samples were also collected from a subset of individuals (n = 5132) and analysed for estimation of known markers of NCDs. DNA has been extracted from blood samples and stored for future use. Important baseline findings include a high prevalence of diabetes, dyslipidemias and hypothyroidism. Prevalence estimates for these disorders obtained from self-reported data are significantly lower, indicating that participants are unaware of their health problems. The identification of ‘at risk’ individuals will allow formation of sub-cohorts for further investigations of epidemiological and genetic risk factors for NCDs. Access to the resource, including data and blood samples, created by this study will be provided to other researchers.