NEW DELHI: Union Minister Shripad Naik has said ‘Def Connect 2019’ brought together all stakeholders of iDEX to showcase the growth of the defence ecosystem in the country and to recognise the potential of the MSMEs/start-ups for future growth of the defence sector in the country. He was addressing the valedictory session of the event.
Naik also stated that the iDEX portal launched today will provide wider publicity and better visibility of iDEX activities and enable more efficient running of future challenges through better information management.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant highlighted the potential of startups in disrupting all aspects of our life and praised the iDEX efforts and promised startups & innovators all support as they innovate for Indian defence.
Memoranda of Understanding were exchanged between the three new incubators (Indian Institute of Science-Bengaluru, IIT Hyderabad and Maker Village). Panel discussions with eminent personalities in the field of innovation in defence sector were also organised. The winners of DISC-I and DISC-II Challenges also displayed their technologies/products being developed by them under the program at the venue.
The iDEX initiative of the Department of Defence Production was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2018 with the objective of encouraging and nurturing innovations in the Indian Defence sector and creating an ecosystem where Startups, MSMEs and individual innovators could interact easily with the Indian defence establishment and provide the latest technological innovations for specific challenges experienced in operational environments through co-development and co-production of innovative solutions.
The Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC)-III was also launched today as a part of DefExpo 2020 under which three challenges were thrown open to prospective startups.
In order to provide an opportunity to innovators to provide their innovative ideas on technologies which find its applications in the defence sector, an iDEX Open Challenge was also launched.
Two Defence India Start-up Challenges DISC-I and DISC-II were already launched under iDEX wherein more than 600 start ups had participated. 44 winners of these challenges are presently being provided with necessary funding for developing proposed innovative technologies. The winners of DISC-I & DISC-II were invited to the event and the 1st tranche of funding under iDEX was released.
The stakeholders of the iDEX ecosystem are: Ministry of Defence (MoD), iDEX selected start-ups, partner incubators, Defence Innovation Organisations (DIO), nodal agencies (Indian Army, Navy, Air Force), DRDO, DPSUs, Indian Ordnance Factories (IOFs), MSMEs and Industry associations. More than 350 startups participated in the event.
This event led to better interaction between Armed Forces and startups resulting in bridging the gap between the stakeholders. During the course of the event, the Armed Forces were exposed to technology solutions being offered by innovators. The innovators on the other hand felt encouraged by the presence of stakeholders who showed a keen interest in technologies/products being developed by them for the Armed Forces.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Secretary (Defence Production) Subhash Chandra, and other civil and military officials were present at the event.