DefConnect – 2024: Rajnath Singh launches ADITI scheme to boost defence innovation

Team India Sentinels Monday 4th of March 2024 05:19 PM

Rajnath Singh at DefConnect – 2024, in New Delhi. (India Sentinels photo via special arrangement.)

New Delhi: The defence minister, Rajnath Singh, launched the ADITI scheme, a new initiative to promote innovations in critical and strategic defence technologies, at the DefConnect – 2024 event in New Delhi, on Monday.

ADITI, which stands for “Acing Development of Innovative Technologies with iDEX”, is a scheme under the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework of the defence ministry’s Department of Defence Production. The scheme is worth ₹750 crore for 2023-24 to 2025-26. It aims to provide grants and aid of up to ₹25 crore to start-ups for their research, development, and innovation endeavours in defence technology.

The scheme also envisages creating 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.

Speaking at the event, Singh said that the scheme will nurture the innovation of youth and help the country leap forward in the field of technology. He also reiterated the government’s commitment to encourage the youth to bring forth innovative ideas and 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 must transform our country into a knowledge society,” he said.

He also said that the government has expanded the iDEX scheme to iDEX Prime, with the assistance increasing from ₹1.5 crore to ₹10 crore, to motivate young innovators.

In the first edition of ADITI, 17 challenges have been launched, covering various domains such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics, quantum computing, and space technology. The Army gave three challenges, Navy gave five, Air Force gave five, and the Defence Space Agency gave four challenges.

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.

This year’s DISC introduced 22 problem statements – four from the Indian Army, five from the Indian Navy, five from the Indian Air Force, seven from the Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited, and one from the Hindustan Shipyard Limited. These problem statements are 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 DefConnect – 2024 event was attended by industry leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, and policymakers, who discussed the opportunities and challenges in the defence-innovation ecosystem.


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