New Delhi: In a move to boost the defence sector, the Defence Ministry on November 13 announced Rs 500 crore plan to encourage growing startups ecosystem, and to fund startups working to create products and solution for the defence sector.
The ministry plans to fund 250 startups and achieve 50 tangible innovations in the next five years to boost government’s ‘Make in India’ programme in the defence arms production.
The Government aims to support startups and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to help it achieve self-reliance in the defence sector.
“India will emerge as an exporter of defence technologies and it can be achieved through ideation, innovation and incubation in cutting-edge technologies”, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who announced the third phase of Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) under iDEX, an initiative to boost innovation in the defence manufacturing sector.
He stressed on the need to bolster India defence manufacturing and its research and development.
The move would serve as an encouragement for Indian startups. In terms of R&D, India is still far behind, with a slow pace in patent filings, in comparison to the developed nations.
In April last year, the Government had launched iDEX (Innovation for Defence Excellence) initiative. The Ministry of Defence had also started the ‘Defence India Startup Challenge’ in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission.
Last year, the then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had invited startups to solve defence challenges in laser weaponry, see-through armour, unmanned surface and underwater vehicles, and AI in logistics.
Through the challenge, the government aimed to create functional prototypes of products relevant for national security and spur fast-moving innovation in the India defence sector and using new tech find the market and early customer.