The government has launched a new programme to encourage armed forces personnel to come up with new innovations, for which they will be rewarded. Called the iDEX4Fauji, it was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday.
The Defence Ministry said in a statement that it is a “first of its kind initiative, launched to support innovations identified by members of the Indian Armed Forces and will bolster frugal innovation ideas from soldiers/ field formations”.
The ministry said “there are more than 13 lakh service personnel working in the field and on borders, handling extreme conditions and equipment and would be having many ideas and innovations to improve such equipment”.
Till now, it said, there was “no mechanism to support such innovations” and added that “iDEX4Fauji would open this window and allow our Faujis to become part of the innovation process and get recognised and rewarded”. The services headquarters will provide support to soldiers and field formations all over the country to ensure maximum participation for the project.
Singh said the iDEX — Innovations for Defence Excellence — initiative, stands out as one of the most effective and well-executed defence start-up ecosystem created in our country and it would be a decisive step towards achieving self-reliance in the spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign.
“In order to further strengthen our defence system and make it self- reliant, the participation of private sector is also crucial,” he said. The Defence Minister exhorted armed forces to “make full use of the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) platform to meet their technological requirements and the Indian start-ups to use this opportunity to become an integral part of our defence enablers”.
This was the fourth edition of iDEX, and under the Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) 4, eleven challenges from armed forces, Ordnance Factory Board and Defence Public Sector Undertakings were thrown open to prospective start-ups and innovators. These include Autonomous Underwater Swarm Drones; Predictive, Preventive & Prescriptive Machine Monitoring and Artificial Intelligence-based Satellite Image Analysis.
In the first three rounds of DISC, over 55 start-ups and individuals have received innovation grants for finding solutions for 18 problem statements.
The iDEX initiative of the Department of Defence Production was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2018 “with the objective to encourage and nurture innovations in the Indian Defence sector and create an ecosystem where start-ups, MSMEs and individual innovators could interact easily with the Indian defence establishment and provide the latest technological innovations for specific challenges experienced in operational environments through co-development and co-production of innovative solutions”, the Ministry said in its statement.
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