Rajnath Singh Rolls Out Defence India Startup Challenges ‘DISC 9’

File Photo of Rajnath Singh
File Photo of Rajnath Singh

India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday has launched the Defence India Startup Challenges (DISC 9). He further rolled out iDEX Investor Hub (iIH), an initiative launched by Defence Innovation Organisation, which has committed more than INR 200 Cr worth of investments.

The iDEX Investor Hub (iIH) aims to accelerate investment in the country’s defence sector and offer investors a unified view of opportunities as well as tech innovations.

Further, Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) signed MoUs with ISRO, IN-SPACe, and ISpA to further strengthen the country’s defence space, at the event. DIO also inked MoU with the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to launch startup challenges in the future. Attending the Startup Manthan event at Aero India 2023, Singh also applauded the growth of Indian startups across sectors, with their numbers increasing to approximately 1 Lakh today and also, producing 108 unicorns to date.

Talking about the iDEX initiative, the minister said, “iDEX has helped the development of several home-grown technologies and has provided an important platform to showcase innovations as well as tech developments. Startups that have developed because of iDEX are also getting orders, which has fostered the country’s startup ecosystem.”

Set up in April 2018, iDEX is launched by Defence Innovation Organization (DIO). It aims to create an ecosystem to foster innovation and tech development in India’s defence and aerospace industries by engaging MSMEs, startups, individual innovators, research and development institutes, and academia.

DISC 9 is a significant collaboration of iDEX with the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (i4C), a division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). DISC 9 curates issues taken from Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), and the MHA.

These developments have come after the Centre made a slew of announcements to promote the growth of the Indian startup in the Union Budget 2023. For instance, the central government shared plans to extend the tax holidays for startups up to March 2024.

Further, the centre’s Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) committed INR 7,980 Cr to 99 alternative investment funds (AIFs) up to December 31, 2022. Of this, INR 3,400 Cr was disbursed to 72 AIFs, which in turn made investments worth INR 14,077 Cr in 791 startups.

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