Encouragement to start-ups in defence, and aerospace as a boost to self-reliant India, and grants of 1.5 crore each to 60 start-ups at ‘Start Up Manthan’ during Aero India 2021.
60 start-ups under the Defence India Start-up Challenge have been given grants of up to 1.5 crore each, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh revealed during his address at the ‘Start Up Manthan’ organised as part of the Aero India 2021.
The 60 winners were selected out of more than 1,200 start-ups and innovators who participated in Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC) and each has received the grant to build their prototypes. In his address at the ‘Start Up Manthan’, the Minister also announced that 45 MSMEs participating in Aero India have received orders worth 203 crore.
Talking at the annual flagship event, the minister heartily applauded India’s ambitious start-up program which was started to harness the young talent and entrepreneurship on the clarion call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said Start-up India was based on three pillars – Simplification and Handholding, Funding and Incentives and Incubation and Industry-Academia Partnerships. He appreciated the success of Start-up India in creating an ecosystem of more than 41,000 start-ups, 4.7 lakh jobs and 4,500 crore of investment in 384 start-ups through Fund of Funds Scheme. Singh also asked the Ministry of Defence officials to consider increasing the financial assistance extended to winners of DISC start-ups.
Start-up India was based on three pillars - Simplification and Handholding, Funding and Incentives and Incubation and Industry-Academia Partnerships: Defence Minister
‘Start Up Manthan’ is organised annually under the iDEX (Innovation in Defence Excellence) banner which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2018 with the core aim to create corporate models for Indian Defence needs and allow the defence sector to harness start-ups. Since its launch, iDEX has emerged as a national scale ecosystem bringing together military users and operators with start-ups, innovators and entrepreneurs. The event provided a unique opportunity to firms associated with DIO-iDEX to showcase capabilities, products and services to industry leaders and business decision makers.
The certificates of recognition were also handed over, during the ceremony, to innovators under iDEX4Fauji and DISC 4 challenges at the event. The Defence Minister also launched the iDEX Grant & Product Management Dashboard portal alongside the felicitation of iDEX4Fauji Winners and Open Challenge 1.0 winners.
The iDEX ecosystem has over 41,000 startups enabling 4.7 lakh jobs today.
Singh also took the opportunity to highlight the steps taken by the government to give a push to start-ups in the defence manufacturing system such as opening up the patents and laboratories of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) to private industry, setting up of Young Scientists labs in niche technology areas, programmes like iDEX, DISC, IDEX4Fauji, etc. The latest version of Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 allows Start-ups to participate in Make-in India forums and reserves projects up to 100 crore for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The iDEX ecosystem has over 41,000 startups enabling 4.7 lakh jobs today. The iDEX initiative is a decisive step towards achieving self-reliance and is one of the most effective and well-executed defence start-up ecosystems in the true spirit of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Singh stated. Speaking on the aerospace sector, he added that 300 plus start-ups are currently engaged and iDEX 10 start-ups have developed the products worth 100 crore which have been displayed at Aero India 2021. He also highlighted iDEX4Fauji as an initiative providing opportunities to innovate to the Indian Armed Forces. “iDEX4Fauji opens up a new window allowing Indian soldiers and service personnel to be recognised and rewarded as innovators. The Innovations done in the field of Robotics in Maritime applications by Lt. Deepak Suman Kumar and wall penetrating Radar by Major Anoop Mishra are some of the exemplary mentions. The initiative creates opportunities for innovators to propose ways to harness technological capabilities and strengthen our nation’s military capability. I hope that the annual flagship event of ‘Start Up Manthan’ becomes a milestone in start-up engagement in defence,” the Minister said.
“iDEX4Fauji opens up a new window allowing Indian soldiers and service personnel to be recognised and rewarded as innovators. The initiative creates opportunities for innovators to propose ways to harness technological capabilities and strengthen our nation’s military capability,” the Minister said.
Secretary Defence Production, Raj Kumar briefed about the iDEX process and the measures taken by the Department of Defence Production to promote start-up culture and self-reliance in defence. He said that iDEX had been designed to infuse the latest technology into military warfare closely intertwined with the needs of services and to reduce dependence on imports.
Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar also passionately spoke about the growth of the start-up ecosystem and identified the importance of developing standards for its sustainability in future. He mentioned, “Start-ups in India had treated the challenge of COVID-19 as an opportunity with funding of over 2 lakh crore in 2020. With innovations such as vaccine development, India has shown that it is among the leading innovation countries. This changed the confidence profile of Indian youth, which is on display at iDEX.”
Start-Up Manthan featured discussions on significant subjects like ‘Decoding the key success of the AFWERX organisational and operating model’; ‘Building and scaling a defence technology venture in/from India’; ‘Lessons & inspirations from the Startup Nation; ‘Building technology unicorns in the Indian Defence & Aerospace sector’; ‘Featuring 2/3 top case-studies from DIO; ‘Defence & Aerospace: Final Frontier for Indian Deep Tech Startups – Vision & opportunities’
Some of the startups like Starbru, Optimized Electrotech, SagarDefence, Future business and avision showcased their work and also pitched their solutions as well during the event.
"Attaining self-reliance in manufacturing of defence equipment is a crucial factor for maintaining India's strategic autonomy and iDEX initiative stands out as one of the most effective and well-executed defence Start-up ecosystems created in our country," said Defence Minister.
He also pointed out that India’s strategic advantage is irrevocably linked to self-reliance in military arms production and the importance of startups and MSMEs in maintaining the country's critical advantage.