Start-ups to drive Indian economy soon, says Defence Minister at Aero India

By Express News Service
BENGALURU: The latest version of the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 allows start-ups to participate in Make-in-India forums and reserves projects up to Rs 100 crore for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday.

Speaking at the “Start-up Manthan” organised on the last day of three-day Aero India 2021, the Minister said the Indian economy is soon going to be driven by start-ups and the government is acutely conscious of the fact that as they are the latest entrants in the defence manufacturing sector, they require an extra push.

The government is taking several steps, including opening up the patents and laboratories of DRDO to private industry, setting up of Young Scientists labs in niche technology areas, programmes like iDEX, Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC) and iDEX4Fauji, he said, adding that 45 MSMEs that participated in Aero India received orders worth Rs 203 crore.

Singh said 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 Atmanirbhar Bharat. He said 60 winners out of more than 1,200 start-ups and innovators who participated in the Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC) have received grants of up to Rs 1.5 crore each to build prototypes. He also asked Ministry of Defence officials to consider increasing the finance available to Innovation for Defence Excellence (IDEX) start-ups.

Stating that Start-Up India was based on three pillars — simplification and handholding, funding and incentives and incubation and industry-academia partnerships — he added that it has created an ecosystem of over 41,000 start-ups, 4.7 lakh jobs and Rs 4,500 crore of investment in 384 start-ups through Fund of Funds Scheme.

Over 300 start-ups are currently engaged and iDEX 10 start-ups have developed products worth Rs 100 core that were displayed in Aero India 2021, he said, adding that iDEX4Fauji opens up a new window allowing Indian soldiers and service personnel to be recognized and rewarded as innovators.

He mentioned the innovations done in the field of robotics in maritime applications by Lt. Deepak Suman Kumar and wall penetrating radar by Major Anoop Mishra as examples. The minister handed over certificates of recognition to innovators under iDEX4Fauji and DISC 4 challenges at the event.