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Rajnath Singh launches ADITI scheme to promote innovations in critical and strategic defence tech

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks at the DefConnect 2024 event, organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence-Defence Innovation Organisation (iDEX-DIO), at Manekshaw Centre, in New Delhi, Monday, March 4, 2024. Photo: PTI.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday launched the Acing Development of Innovative Technologies with iDEX (ADITI) scheme to promote innovations in critical and strategic defence technologies, officials said.

Under the scheme, start-ups are eligible to receive grant-in-aid of up to Rs 25 crore for their research development and innovation endeavours in defence technology, the defence ministry said in a statement.

The scheme was launched during DefConnect 2024 event here in the presence of Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan and others.

"The scheme will nurture the innovation of youth and help the country leap forward in the field of technology," Singh was quoted as saying in the statement.

He addressed a gathering of the industry leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and policymakers during the event.

The ministry later issued a video on the scheme that was shared by its spokesperson on X.

"There has been a change in the mindset in the armed forces that we should induct indigenised products. This mindset change is important and the processes, both are important," the CDS said in the video.

The iDEX (Innovations For Defence Excellence) is a well-conceived scheme of the ministry's department of defence.

General Chauhan spoke about the launch of the ADITI scheme under which start-ups are eligible to receive grant-in-aid of up to Rs 25 crore.

"That I feel is a big step. It shows the government's intent as to how far we are ready to go. It shows intent of services, how big projects they will bring nd, innovators are also connected to it," he said.

The new scheme is a huge step in the direction to "connect the mindset of MoD, services and innovators", the CDS added.

The iDEX initiative was launched in April 2018. It aims to achieve self-reliance and foster innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace by engaging industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia.

General Chauhan further said, "We were thinking of bringing out the sixth Positive Indigenisation List. We should also constantly review the five Positive Indigenisation List and whether the timeframe laid out in them have been achieved or not."

The fifth Positive Indigenisation List has been prepared by the Department of Military Affairs after several rounds of consultations with all stakeholders.

It lays special focus on import substitution of components of major systems besides important platforms, weapon system and sensors and munitions which are being developed and likely to translate into firm orders in the next five to ten years, according to the ministry.

The ADITI scheme worth Rs 750 crore for the period 2023-24 to 2025-26 falls under the iDEX framework of the department of defence production under the ministry of defence. It aims to develop about 30 deep-tech critical and strategic technologies in the proposed timeframe, the statement said.

It also envisages to create a 'Technology Watch Tool' to bridge the gap between the expectations and requirements of the modern armed forces and the capabilities of the defence innovation ecosystem.

In the first edition of ADITI, 17 challenges Indian Army (three), Indian Navy (five), Indian Air Force (five) and Defence Space Agency (four) - have been launched, it said.

Singh voiced Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government's unwavering commitment to encourage the youth to bring forth innovative ideas.

He asserted that to motivate young innovators, iDEX was expanded to iDEX Prime, with the assistance increasing from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 10 crore. Following the encouraging participation in providing solutions to the challenges given by the services and DPSUs, ADITI scheme has now been launched, he said.

The Defence Ministry stated that the idea behind schemes or initiatives such as ADITI, iDEX, iDEX Prime is to also transform India into a knowledge society.

"As times are changing, new technologies are coming into existence. To become a developed country, it is necessary for us to achieve a technological edge. We have to transform our country into a knowledge society," he said.

The event also witnessed the launch of the 11th edition of Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC), heralding a new chapter in the collaboration between the defence establishment and the start-up ecosystem.

The DISC 11 introduces 22 problem statements -- Indian Army (four), Indian Navy (five), Indian Air Force (five), Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited (seven) and Hindustan Shipyard Limited (one) -- aimed at addressing critical defence challenges, inviting innovators to propose innovative solutions that can enhance the country's defence capabilities and contribute to national security, the statement said.

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