Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said attaining self-reliance in manufacturing of defence equipment is a crucial factor for maintaining Indias strategic autonomy. The Minister also asked officials to increase the grants that the startups under iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) receive.
Speaking at the “Startup Manthan” at the Aero India-2021 in Bengaluru, he said, attaining self-reliance in the manufacturing of defence equipment is a crucial factor for maintaining Indias strategic autonomy. Launched in April 2018, iDEX 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. iDEX has partnered with leading incubators in the country to provide hand holding, technical support and guidance to the winners of iDEX challenges. A resounding success since its launch, the Startup India programme today boasts an ecosystem of more than 41,000 startups and 4.7 lakh jobs reported by them, Singh said, noting Rs 4,500 crore investment had been made in 384 startups through the Fund of Funds scheme.
In such an ecosystem, it will not be an exaggeration to say the country’s economy was soon going to be driven by these startups, he said, adding the government was acutely conscious that startups being latest entrants in the defence manufacturing sector required that “extra push”.