Speaking at the Start-Up Manthan at Aero India 2023, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, praised the country's start-ups, equating them with new energy, new commitment, and new enthusiasm. He emphasized the importance of start-ups in adopting new technology architecture and their essential role in India's progress.
He called for introducing similar innovations in existing methods or developing new technologies to usher in the next Generation Industrial Revolution. Defence Minsiter Rajnath Singh exhorted all participants in Start-Up Manthan to go beyond India’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ and move to a new mantra of ‘Design our Destiny,’ hailing youth as the designers.
Singh noted that India is supporting its youth to innovate, empowering them to become job creators and manufacture indigenous defense products, and reducing the country's dependence on imports. He applauded the growth of Indian start-ups in every sector, with numbers increasing to approximately one lakh today, including more than 100 unicorns.
Launch of Defence India Start-up Challenge 9 (DISC-9) and iDEX Investor Hub
Rajnath Singh launched the Ninth edition of Defense India Startup Challenges (DISC 9) on “Cybersecurity” with 28 problem statements, and the iDEX Investor Hub (iIH). More than Rs 200 crores have already been pledged under iIH by leading Indian investors.
DISC 9 is the first collaboration of iDEX with the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (i4C) division of the Ministry of Home Affairs. These challenges have been curated from Services, DPSUs, and Ministry of Home Affairs, revealing the deep impact and interest iDEX has generated amongst our Defense industry. The winners of DISC 6, first three editions of iDEX Prime, and Open Challenge 5 & 6 were also felicitated. Phase 1 winners of challenges under Mission DefSpace were announced and felicitated.
The Impact of iDEX
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh highlighted the impact of the Innovations for Defense Excellence (iDEX) initiative, launched under the Defense Innovation Organisation (DIO) under the Ministry of Defense, in enabling talent from across the country to come forward. iDEX has helped develop several home-grown technologies, providing an important platform to showcase innovations and technological developments.
Start-ups that have developed because of iDEX are also getting orders, fostering the Start-Up ecosystem in the country. The platform has introduced several innovators to the market, leading to direct and indirect employment generation for skilled and semi-skilled workers. In recognition of its impact, iDEX was given the PM Award in the Innovation category. The Ministry of Defense has established a simplified, fast track procedure for procurement from start-ups and MSMEs due to their employment generation potential.
Towards Aatmanirbharta and A New Generation Industrial Revolution
Defence Minister also said that iDEX has contributed to Aatmanirbharta (self-reliance) in the Defense ecosystem and emphasized the government’s commitment to support entrepreneurs through new opportunities and facilitate development of technologies through policy interventions. The government has introduced various grants to encourage innovators and start-ups.
The minister called for redefining competition for development and moving away from reliance on obsolete technologies and systems of production. Innovating in new sectors will enable India to reduce the gap between nations. He gave the example of UPI payments as an innovation developed by Indian youth and introduced to the world, with even developed nations studying this technology to learn.