On August 19, 2021, the Defence Minister of India launched Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) 5.0 under the initiative of Innovations for Defence Excellence – Defence Innovation Organization (iDEX-DIO) during a video conference.
Singh complimented the attempts of iDEX-DIO and termed the launch of DISC 5.0 during the “Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav” as an initiative towards formulating an “AtmaNirbhar ” sector in Defence. He also recalled the previous editions of the Defence India Startup Challenge and emphasized on the fact that over 80 individual innovators, startups, MSMEs have been leading across over 40 technological spaces. Mr. Singh said that the iDEX has offered a strong base for the innovation, Research, and development in this sector. He further added that,
The launch had Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar, and also the senior officials from the Ministry of Defence. According to a Defence minister,
The virtual participants included Chief of the Army Staff General MM Naravane, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria along with young innovators.
What Is Defence India Startup Challenge 5.0?
Defence India Startup Challenge which is also known as DISC 5.0 is a project under the initiative of iDEX-DIO (Innovations for Defence Excellence – Defence Innovation Organization) in improving the startup ecosystem in India to develop the defense technologies of the country, equipment design, and manufacturing capabilities. After its fourth edition, the fifth edition of DISC was launched after 4 years.
Importance Of DISC 5.0
According to the Defence Minister, given the rapidly altering geopolitical scenario and security in the world, it is important to build a strong, modern, self reliant, and well equipped defense industry. So for this reason, iDEX provides a platform for the think tanks, Governments, industry, services, startups, and innovators to come together to offer help to the Defence and Aerospace sectors of the nation to expand their power.
Under the iDEX-DIO initiative, DISC 5.0 highlighted 35 problem statements where 13 problems were from the Service and 22 from DPSUs (Defence Public Sector Undertakings) for startups and innovators to arrive with solutions.
These 3.5 issue statements range from Drone SWARMS and Data Capturing, 5G network, Non-lethal devices, underwater domain awareness, Artificial Intelligence, Aircraft-trainer, Augmented Reality, and Situational awareness.
The iDEX Initiative
Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiative that is managed and funded by Defence Innovation Organisations is to attain self reliance and promote the improvement in innovation and technology in the Defence and Aerospace sectors of India. The iDEX initiative was launched by Narendra Modi in April 2018. It was successful in bridging the loophole between talent and demand in the nation while providing a strong base of R&D and also innovation to the industry. It is expected that iDEX will support 5 times more defense startups in India in the upcoming 5 years to complete the attainment steps in a timely manner, reduce cost, and accelerate progress.
Another similar initiative is iDEX4fauji which provides chances for service personnel to portray their talent in the area of Defence innovation and technology. So this is going to solve your question on how to start a defense startup in India.
Mr. Singh pointed out measures that have been taken by the Ministry to promote innovation, such as including iDEX as a procurement platform under the Defence “Acquisition Procedure 2020”, allocating ₹1,000 crores for domestic acquisition through iDEX for FY 2021-2022, and approving a budget of worth ₹ 498.8 crores for the upcoming five years to back over 300 startups and foster innovation in Defence and Aerospace avenues.
The launch of Defence India Startup Challenge 5.0 arrives three years after the launch of Defence India Startup Challenge 1 which continued till Defence India Startup Challenge 4. The iDEX initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2018.