Strengthening Deep-Tech: Defence Startups to Get Aid Under New Scheme

To foster innovation in strategic defence technologies and achieve self-reliance in the field, a scheme has been unveiled with an outlay of Rs.750 crore.

Last month, the Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Interim Budget 2024, announced that a new scheme would be launched for “strengthening deep-tech technologies for defence purposes and expediting ‘atmanirbharta’”.

The ADITI (Acing Development of Innovative Technologies with iDEX) scheme was launched by the Defence Minister, Shri. Rajnath Singh during DefConnect 2024, on March 4, 2024. The scheme seeks to develop about 30 deep-tech critical and strategic technologies. Under the scheme, startups, MSMEs, and individual innovators are eligible for a grant-in-aid of up to Rs. 25 crore. However, the applicants would be required to make matching contributions. The same is as per information available on the iDEX portal.

A total of seventeen challenges have been presented in the scheme’s first edition. Applicants have to explain their proposed solution to address the challenge most cost-effectively and efficiently, with the ability to emerge as a military-grade product ready for defence production and adoption by the defence forces.

Emphasising the need for research and development, the Defence Minister stated, “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”. 

Additionally, at the said event, MoUs were announced for furthering investment in defence startups, and the 11th edition of the Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC) was also launched.


Date: March 6, 2024