Startups and innovators should come up with new ideas to modernise Armed Forces: Defence minister Rajnath Singh – ET Government

The Union Minister for Defence Rajnath Singh at the event of ‘Manthan’ organised as part of DefExpo 2022, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Tuesday.

The Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has exhorted startups and innovators to come up with new ideas to modernise the Armed Forces through research and innovation. Inaugurating Manthan 2022, an event organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence-Defence Innovation Organisation (iDEX-DIO), Ministry of Defence as part of 12th DefExpo in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Tuesday, Singh said a large number of startups and innovators are venturing into the defence sector as the government has created a robust ecosystem for their growth.

Stating that more than Rs 300 crore have been approved for over 100 iDEX winners to develop products/technologies in more than 50 technological areas, the minister noted that the initiative has changed the perception that defence production is only for big businesses and industrialists.

“In the last 7-8 years, there has been a change in the consciousness of the nation, with greater focus on solutions and goals. Earlier, it was difficult for the youth to contribute in various fields, but initiatives such as iDEX have empowered our young entrepreneurs and given them wings to fly. iDEX, a major iniative towards making India self-reliant, is a platform to provide economic support to entrepreneurs to develop state-of-the-art technologies,” Rajnath said.

He lauded iDEX for winning the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration last year and achieving new heights of success since its launch by the Prime Minister during DefExpo 2018. Singh added that iDEX is a popular initiative of the Ministry of Defence and has encouraged other ministries to adopt innovative schemes. Calling iDEX ‘innovation for innovation’, Singh emphasised that it has encouraged the entrepreneurial potential of the country, which was not able to emerge previously due to policy restrictions. He added that the initiative has helped aspiring startups and innovators to come forward and work with other stakeholders in the defence sector. Terming iDEX a movement to work for the nation, Rajnath Singh said the combined efforts of the government and innovators have created a positive ripple effect in the economy.

The minister informed that since the inception of iDEX, over 6,000 applications have been received in the last seven editions of Defence India Start-up Challenge and Open Challenge. He also shed light on iDEX Prime which was launched to provide grant-in-aid support worth up to Rs 10 crore. iDEX creates direct and indirect employment opportunities and is useful for both job seekers and job creators, he added.

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