Defence Minister Rajnath Singh handed over Rs 3 crore to two start-ups in the defence sector, to help them build upon their innovative ideas, during the inaugural session of DefConnect 2019, an initiative to showcase innovations in defence excellence, in New Delhi on Monday.
The start-up firms, North Street Cooling Towers and Chipspirit Technologies were handed over cheques of around Rs 1.5 crore each by Singh.
The initiative Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) had been launched by the central government in April 2018 to create an ecosystem that will foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes & academia.
Under the initiative, the government is also committed to provide grants, funding and other support to carry out research and development that has the potential to cater to the needs of the Indian defence sector.
Singh said during his address, that incubation is the most critical challenge in building this ecosystem. “The idea may be great and the innovative mind can also find a solution. However, unless the process of careful and passionate incubation provides the ideal environment for nurturing and hand holding a creation, projects might fail,” Singh said.
During the occasion, Secretary (Defence Production) Subhash Chandra said the aim of the central government is to fund 250 startups and achieve 50 tangible innovations in the next five years. The Defence Ministry is also in the process of seeking approval of Rs 500 crore from the central government for the purpose, he said.
More than 350 start-ups selected by the iDEX, partner incubators, Defence Innovation Organization (DIO), nodal agencies including the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, apart from DRDO, Defence PSUs and Ordnance Factories were part of DefConnect 2019 that was launched on Monday.
Addressing the closing session of the forum, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said DefConnect 2019 has brought together all stakeholders of iDEX to showcase the growth of the defence ecosystem in the country and to recognize the infinite potential of the MSMEs and start-ups. He also stated that the iDEX portal, which was launched on Monday, would provide wider publicity and better visibility of its activities.