The third phase of the Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) was flagged off at the electronic hardware incubator, Maker Village, in Kochi on December 27.
The government had introduced the third phase of DISC on November 11 by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. With this challenge, the government is looking for innovation that can be utilised in the India defence sector.
Moreover, the government also plans to cut down on defence spending by seeking solutions from domestic players — startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The selected startups and businesses will be working on solving three challenges from the three forces — Army, Navy and Air Force.
Rear Admiral RJ Nadkarni, chief of staff at the Southern Naval Command, inaugurated the DISC, whereas development commissioner of Cochin Special Economic Zone (CEPZ) DV Swamy launched the Defence India Open Challenge.
“There are certain technologies which nobody in the world would like to part with. A programme like the iDEX can thus be of immense benefit to the nation. It also boosts employment opportunities in the country,” Nadkarni said.
Talking at the event, Nadkarni also noted that there are two challenges India faces — improving the economic complexity index and rapidly adapting to technology for a stronger defence.
Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) is a joint initiative between the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Atal Innovation Mission and the Defence Innovation Organisation. It is a part of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the DefExpo held in April 2018.
So far, two editions of DISC have already been launched. The first phase was launched in August 2018, where selected startups were awarded up to INR 1.5 Cr in the form of grants, equity, debt and other relevant structures.
Moreover, the government also incubated and mentored these startups. The winners of the first DISC were — Individual Protection System, See Through Armour and Carbon Fibre Winding, among others.
The second DISC was rolled out in January 2019 and the batch included GPS Anti Jam Device, Data Analytics for Air Trajectory, Illegal usage of Drones and RADAR – IQ Signal Generator. In both the editions of DISC, the government had shortlisted 28 startups/businesses, who got the grants for prototype development and possible commercialisation