India targets $70-million nod for 250 defence startups

Photo: Defence minister Rajnath Singh presenting a cheque of Rs 1.5 crore to defence startup North Street Cooling Towers in New Delhi today

New Delhi: India aims to fund 250 startups in the defence sector and achieve 50 tangible innovations over the next five years and is seeking approvals for Rs 500 crore ($70 million) budget for the programme, Defence Production Secretary Subhash Chandra said today.

Chandra was addressing the inauguration of ‘DefConnect 2019’ organised by Ministry of Defence to showcase the accomplishments of the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiative.

Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh, at the event, said India should emerge as “a net innovator and net exporter of defence technologies rather than a net importer.” He pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set a target of $5-trillion economy by 2024. “Looking at the talent India possesses, I am pretty confident that we can become $10 trillion economy in the next 10-15 years,” he said.

Rajnath Singh emphasised the importance of ‘Ideation, Innovation and Incubation’ in cutting edge-technologies to achieve the goal of indigenisation and self-reliance in the defence sector.

“India is leading in the fields of technology and peacekeeping throughout the world. As a major power, it is equally important for us to strengthen our defence manufacturing and research and development,”

The minister also launched the new iDEX logo, its portal ( and dashboard for real time monitoring of the programme. A Compendium of iDEX Guidelines was also released.

The Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) – III was launched, under which three challenges from the Army, Navy and Air Force were thrown open to prospective startups. An iDEX Open Challenge was also launched to provide an opportunity to innovators to come up with their technologies that may be adopted to the country’s defence requirements.

Photo: Defence minister Rajnath Singh presenting a cheque to defence start up Chipspirit Technologies in New Delhi today.

He gave cheques of around Rs 1.5 crore ($200,000) each to two startups — North Street Cooling Towers Private Limited and Chipspirit Technologies Private Limited — for building on their innovative ideas.

Department of Defence Production Joint Secretary Sanjay Jaju said the ministry is in the process of including few more incubation modules such as Indian Institute of Technology-Madras.

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