The Ministry of Defence has approved a central sector scheme viz. Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX)with budgetary support of Rs. 498.80 crore for the next 5 years from 2021-22 to 2025-26.
About iDEX scheme
- The iDEX initiative was launched by the Hon’ble PM 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.
- Objective: To provide financial support to nearly 300 Startups/ MSMEs/ individual innovators and about 20 Partner incubators through Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO).
Eligibility for grants under iDEX
To avail the grants under the grant mechanism of iDEX i.e. Support for Prototype and Research Kickstart (SPARK), the eligibility is as follows:
- Startups, as defined and recognized by the Department of Industrial Policy Promotion (DIPP), now DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- Any Indian company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956/2013, primarily a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) as defined in the MSME Act, 2006.
- Individual innovators are also encouraged to apply (research & academic institutions can use this category to apply).
To avail the grants as iDEX Partner Incubators, the eligibility is as follows:
- The applicant incubator should be registered in India as a legal entity in public, private or public–private partnership mode, and should have received establishment or grant support from a Ministry/Department of Government of India in the past.
- The incubator must have been in operation for a minimum of 3 years before application for affiliation with DIO, and experience of having supported at least 25 startups.
- It should have successfully graduated at least 5 startups in the past 3 years.
- It should have at least 25 mentors for startups affiliated with it, at least 5 of them should be relevant to defence or aerospace domain.
- Experience of having run sector-focused accelerator programs in at least two sectors, with investable startups having come out of each of them.
- Experience of having partnered with academia and research sector.
- Extensive corporate, investor, academic, vendor, mentor and government relationships to support start-ups.
Activities supported under the scheme
The iDEX scheme formulated by Department of Defence Production (DDP) envisages to fund DIO to take up the following activities:
- Setting up and managing the iDEX network in the form of Partner Incubators.
- Communicating with innovators/start-ups/technology centres of MSMEs through the Partner Incubators (PIs).
- Organizing various challenges/hackathons to shortlist potential technologies and entities for defence and aerospace use.
- Interfacing with the Services about key innovative technologies and encouraging their adoption into the defence establishment with suitable assistance.
Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO)
- It funds iDEX
- It was formed as a “not for profit‟ company as per Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013 for this purpose.
- DIO will provide high level policy guidance to iDEX. iDEX will have functional autonomy.
- The CEO of iDEX will be selected and recruited by the DIO.
Objectives of Defence Innovation Fund are to:
- Facilitate rapid development of new, indigenized, and innovative technologies for the Indian defence and aerospace sector, to meet the needs for these sectors in shorter timelines
- Create a culture of engagement with innovative startups, to encourage co-creation for defence and aerospace sectors
- Empower a culture of technology co-creation and co-innovation within the defence and aerospace sectors