Defence Startup Funding: Defence ministry plans to fund 500Cr

Defence Ministery looking forward to investing 500 crores in 250 defence startups.

Defence Ministry is planning to assign at least Rs. 500 crores over the next 5 years for its Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) Initiative. The government aims to bring together public and private innovators and the armed forces to find new technology solutions for the defence sector. As one of the aims of India since Independence is to be self sustain, self-reliable in the Defence sector especially in the production area.

India is the second-largest arms importer from 2014-18 according to Stockholm International Peace Research(SIPRI) which accounts for the world’s 9.8% import that includes the S-400 air defense system from Russia, Kamov-226T utility helicopters from Russia, Mi-17 helicopters from Russia, etc. Russia alone accounts for 58% of arms import to India while Pakistan stood at 11th position.

According to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh: India could emerge as a 10 Trillion dollar economy over the next 10-15 years if innovation talent is harnessed.

Addressing 5th India International Science Festival’ Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated his Startup India Vision:

“We are trying to ensure that students from class VI can go to the Atal Tinkering Lab and then as soon as they leave college, they can get incubation and a startup ecosystem ready for them. With this idea, more than 5000 Atal Tinkering Labs have been built in the country in a very short time. Besides these, more than 200 Atal Incubation Centers have also been set up.”

According to the founder of StartupLanes, Shishir Gupta:

India maintains its third position as the largest startup ecosystem in the world. We have food startups like Zomato, Swiggy, Uber eats; cab service startups like Ola; Agritech startup like AgroStar, CropIn, etc. But we have very few startups in defense sector like Bengaluru based Tonbo Imaging, Noida based TimeTooth Technologies, etc. so the competition is very less in defense sector. 1/5th population of India constitute youths age between 15-24years as per the census 2011. This is a great opportunity for the youth population to explore the hidden opportunities in defence sector. Let the unseen and invisible talents come to the light.

iDEX is aimed at creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D development which has good potential for future adoption for Indian defense and aerospace needs. iDEX will also collaborate with startups through Defence Innovation Hub. Defense PSUs will have to spend 25% of their CSR funds for supporting iDEX in the country.

I think startups are greatly known for their innovation and expertise in the implementation strategy. Undoubtedly India has a fair amount of fresh talent which can be utilized in this sector. India really needs to boost its defence sector as importing arms are more expensive. We should more focus on the MAKE IN INDIA program.