Defence Minister Launches ADITI Scheme  to Promote Defence Innovations

The Union Minister for Defence, Shri Rajnath Singh launches Acing Development of Innovative Technologies with iDEX (ADITI) scheme to promote innovations in critical and strategic defence technologies during DefConnect 2024, in New Delhi on March 04, 2024. The Minister of State for Defence and Tourism, Shri Ajay Bhatt, Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and the Defence Secretary, Shri Giridhar Aramane are also seen.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched Acing Development of Innovative Technologies with iDEX (ADITI) scheme to promote innovations in critical and strategic defence technologies, during DefConnect 2024 in New Delhi.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 scheme will nurture the innovation of youth, and help the country leap forward in the field of technology,” said the minister as he addressed a gathering of industry leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, and policymakers.

The ADITI scheme worth Rs 750 crore for the period 2023-24 to 2025-26 falls under the iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) framework of Department of Defence Production (DDP), Ministry of Defence. It aims to develop about 30 deep-tech critical and strategic technologies in the proposed timeframe. 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 (3), Indian Navy (5), Indian Air Force (5) and Defence Space Agency (4) – have been launched.

Rajnath Singh voiced 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 minister stated that the idea behind the schemes/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 (4), Indian Navy (5), Indian Air Force (5), Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited (7) and Hindustan Shipyard Limited (1) – 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.

Rajnath Singh described ‘getting a hold on state-of-the-art defence technology’ as the most crucial aspect to achieve self-reliance due to the increasing role of cutting-edge technology in warfare in today’s time. He stated that technology can be mastered either by adopting the latest innovation from other countries or by developing our own. The Government is working on both methods, he stressed.

“Under offset, we are acquiring technology from various countries through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). But, like this, we cannot obtain best technologies as countries never share their latest innovations. This is why there is a need to develop the required technologies on our own. For this, we need research and development (R&D). There are a number of conditions that need to be fulfilled to establish a productive R&D ecosystem. India has a large workforce of energetic and skilled youth who are committed to taking India forward in the field of technology. When we have such a skilled workforce, we should not shy away from setting ambitious goals. Our youth are fully empowered to make India self-reliant in the defence sector, and the government is providing them with the environment to touch greater heights,” the Raksha Mantri said.

Highlighting the Government’s vision of attaining self-reliance as soon as it came to power,  Rajnath Singh said the nation cannot remain dependent on import of weapons/platforms as it can be fatal for strategic autonomy. He stated that without self-reliance, India cannot take independent decisions on global issues in line with its national interests.

“Strategic autonomy can be maintained only when arms and equipment are made in India by our own people. We are working towards this, and the results are positive. While in 2014 our domestic defence production was around Rs 44,000 crore, today it has crossed the record figure of Rs one lakh crore, and growing continuously. This change took place due to our conistent efforts. Tough decisions had to be taken. Status-quo had to be disrupted,” the minister said, while listing out a number of measures taken to promote domestic manufacturing, including earmarking 75% of defence capital procurement budget for Indian companies.

As part of DefConnect 2024, a technology showcase was also organised by iDEX-Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) with a diverse range of technology start-ups at the forefront of innovation in the defence sector. These start-ups are revolutionising key areas such as Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Undersea Detection and Communication, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Wearable Technology, Blast & Ballistics Proof Structures and Equipment, smart textiles and cyber security. These start-ups represented cutting-edge technologies and innovations, offering solutions to enhance defence capabilities, strengthen national security, and safeguard national interests.

Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and other senior officials of Ministry of Defence were present on the occasion.

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