NEW DELHI: India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday launched the 5th edition of the Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC) under Innovations for Defence Excellence – Defence Innovation Organisation (iDEX-DIO) meant to achieve self-reliance and foster innovation and technology development in the defence and aerospace sectors.
“Thirty-five problem statements – 13 from the Services and 22 from Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) – were unveiled under DISC 5.0. These are in areas such as situational awareness, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, aircraft-trainer, non-lethal devices, 5G network, underwater domain awareness, Drone SWARMS and data capturing,” a Defence Ministry statement said.
Speaking at the virtual launch, Mr. Singh said the iDEX provided a strong foundation for innovation, Research and Development (R&D) to the industry. “Initiatives like iDEX form a link between our youth, academia, R&D, start-ups and the armed forces,” he pointed out.
On the earlier editions of DISC, Mr. Singh said that more than 80 start-ups, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and individual innovators had joined as winners in over 40 technological areas. He noted that iDEX4fauji was a similar initiative that gave an opportunity to the Service personnel to showcase their talent in these fields.
Mr. Singh listed out measures taken by the Ministry to promote innovation, such as including iDEX as a procurement avenue under the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020, earmarking ₹1,000 crore for domestic procurement through iDEX for financial year 2021-2022 and approving a budget of ₹ 498.8 crore for the next five years to support over 300 start-ups and foster innovation in defence and aerospace sectors.
The launch of DISC 5.0 comes three years after the launch of DISC 1.0. iDEX initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2018.