iDEX4Fauji is a challenge to encourage innovation among soldiers

iDEX4Fauji a defence India start-up challenge(DISC-4) launched by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh during the iDEX event, featuring the initiatives aimed at expanding the horizons of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) ecosystem in New Delhi today.

 iDEX4Fauji initiative and Product Management Approach (PMA) guidelines were also launched by the Raksha Mantri during the event.  Each of these initiatives is expected to facilitate iDEX-DIO to scale up the program qualitatively and quantitatively.

What is so special about this, is as iDEX4Fauji is a first-of-its-kind initiative launched to support innovations identified by members of the Indian Armed Forces and will bolster frugal innovation ideas from soldiers/ field formations.

It is important to note that more than 13 Lakh service personnel working in the field and on borders, are handling extreme conditions and equipment and would be having many ideas and innovations to improve such equipment.

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 iDEX4Fauji opens the window and allows our Faujis to be a part of the innovation process and get recognised and rewarded. The Services Headquarters will provide support to the soldiers & field formations all over the country to ensure maximum participation.

Shri Rajnath Singh said that only yesterday i.e.,28 September 2020 the government launched the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020. The aim of this is to encourage the private industry to participate in the defence sector.

Raksha Mantri also exhorted the Armed Forces to “make full use of the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) platform to meet their technical requirements and the Indian Startups to use this opportunity to become an integral part of our Defence enablers.”

Under Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) 4, eleven challenges from the Armed forces, OFB&DPSUs were thrown open to prospective startups, innovators, and MSMEs alike to provide their innovative ideas on technologies which find their application in the defence sector. The challenges are as follows:

       i.            Autonomous Underwater Swarm Drones

     ii.            Predictive, Preventive & Prescriptive Machine Monitoring

  iii.            Super Resolution for Improving Spatial Resolution

   iv.            AI-based Satellite Image Analysis

     v.            Prediction and forecasting of atmospheric visibility

   vi. Computer-Generated Targets for Virtual Training

vii.            Remote Real-Time In-Flight Health Monitoring of Aircrew

viii. MF-TDMA-based Wideband SATCOM Modem

  ix.            Foliage Penetration Radar

     x.            Reduction of RCS of Naval Warships

  xi.            Target Detection in Chaff Environment

In order to develop a ‘right product and the product right’, DIO has adopted the Product Management Approach to steer the prototype development to a market-ready product.  These guidelines are the first of their kind and their release by Raksha Mantri is intended to monitor product development milestones achieved by iDEX winners against the requirements set by the Services/ DPSUs/ OFB.

This iDEX initiative was launched by PM Shri Narendra Modi in April 2018 with the objective to encourage and nurture innovations in the Indian Defence sector and create an ecosystem where Startups, MSMEs and individual innovators could interact easily with the Indian defence establishment and provide the latest technological innovations for specific challenges experienced in operational environments through co-development and co-production of innovative solutions. The iDEX initiatives are executed by the Defence Innovation Organisation, a Section 8 company of DPSUs BEL and HAL.

DIO has evolved and expanded the magnitude of its activities since its inception in 2018:

DIO Activities are as follows:

·         iDEX-DIO launched 3 rounds of Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) with 18 problems statements from Armed Forces, DPSUs&OFB and identified 55+ start-ups/ individuals to receive innovation grants in technological areas through the Prototype funding guidelines called “Support for Prototype and Research Kickstart” (SPARK), which entail provisioning of grants upto Rs 1.5 crore to the Startups on the basis of milestones through multiple tranches, for prototype development.

·         It has entered into a strategic partnership with leading incubators in the country and undergone international collaborations, especially with Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) in the US.

·         DIO is also hiring manpower, doing outreach, launched own website ( & portal, launched 2 cycles of an open challenge for supporting suo-moto innovations, SPARK II guidelines and an internship program etc. along with promulgating elaborate guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures.

·         DDP has 9 Defence PSUs as pillars of defence production in the country and iDEX has enabled capacity building in DPSUs by seeding a culture of innovation and Research and Development.

  The iDEX event successfully brought together the iDEX stakeholders on a single platform i.e. Ministry of Defence (MoD), iDEX selected startups, partner incubators, Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), nodal agencies (Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force), NITI Aayog, DRDO, DPSUs, OFB, think tanks, private industry and Industry associations. More than 500 startups and innovators participated in the event through video conference.

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