iDEX and Defence India Start-Up Challenge | 23 Dec 2022

Why in News?

Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), the flagship initiative of Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, has reached a milestone with the signing of its 150th contract.

  • The contract relates to an Indian Navy project of the Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC 7) SPRINT edition.

What is iDEX?

  • About:
    • iDEX, launched in 2018, is an ecosystem to foster innovation & technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging innovators & entrepreneurs to deliver technologically advanced solutions for modernizing the Indian Military.
    • It provides funding/grants to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia to carry out research and development.
    • The iDEX-Prime aims to support projects requiring support beyond Rs 1.5 crore up to Rs 10 crore, to help ever-growing start-ups in the defence sector.
    • iDEX portal was launched to provide wider publicity and better visibility of iDEX activities and enable more efficient running of future challenges through better information management.
  • Core Objectives:
    • Indigenization: Rapid development of new, indigenized and innovative technology.
    • Innovation: Creates a culture of engagement with innovative startups to encourage co-creation.
  • Funding:
    • iDEX is funded and managed by “Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO)”.
  • Achievement:
    • iDEX has been awarded the prestigious Prime Minister Award for Public Policy in Innovation Category for the year 2021.

What is DIO?

  • DIO is a not-for-profit organisation formed under section 8 of the Companies Act 2013.
  • It is funded by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
  • It provides high-level policy guidance to iDEX.

What is DISC?

  • DISC aims at supporting Startups/MSMEs/Innovators to create prototypes and/or commercialize products/solutions in National Defence and Security.
  • The First DISC was launched in 2018 at Bengaluru.
  • It was launched by the Ministry of Defence in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission (AIM).
    • AIM is Government of India’s flagship initiative to create and promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country.
  • Under the program, the start-ups, Indian companies and individual innovators (including research & academic institutions) can participate.
  • DISC 7 has been launched with 69 Problem Statements (PS) from Indian Navy for resolution by startups & innovators.

What are Government Initiatives Regarding Indigenisation?

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Years Question (PYQ)

Q. Atal Innovation Mission is set up under the (2019)

(a) Department of Science and Technology
(b) Ministry of Labour and Employment
(c) NITI Aayog
(d) Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

Ans: (c)


  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship based on a detailed study and deliberations on innovation and entrepreneurial needs of the country.
  • AIM is envisaged as an umbrella innovation organization that would play an instrumental role in alignment of innovation policies between Central, State and sectoral innovation schemes incentivizing the establishment and promotion of an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship at various levels – higher secondary schools; science, engineering and higher academic institutions; SME/MSME industry, corporate and NGO levels.
  • Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

Source: PIB