Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on August 19, 2021, launched Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) 5.0 under Innovations for Defence Excellence – Defence Innovation Organization (iDEX-DIO) initiative during a video conference.
Singh lauded the efforts of iDEX-DIO and called the launch of DISC 5.0 during the ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’ as a step towards creating an ‘AtmaNirbhar’ Defence sector. Singh also recalled the previous four editions of DISC and highlighted that more than 80 startups, individual innovators, MSMEs have been winners across more than 40 technological areas.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar along senior officials from the Ministry of Defence were present during the launch. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Army Staff General MM Naravane, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria along with young innovators participated virtually.
What is DISC 5.0?
•DISC 5.0, also known as Defence India Startup Challenge is a project under the iDEX-DIO initiative to leveraging the startup ecosystem in India to develop the country’s Defence technologies, manufacturing capabilities, and equipment design.
•DISC 5.0 has been launched after three years after the launch of the first edition of DISC.
Significance of DISC 5.0
•Given the rapidly changing security and geo-political scenario in the world, the defence minister noted that it is crucial to create a modern, strong, well-equipped military and self-reliant defence industry.
•For this purpose, iDEX offers a platform for the Government, think tanks, services, industry, innovators, and startups can come together to help the country’s Defence and Aerospace sectors expand their potential.
•DISC 5.0 under the iDEX-DIO initiative showcased 35 problem statements, 13 from the Services and 22 from Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) for innovators and startups to come up with solutions.
•These 35 problem statements range across Drone SWARMS and Data Capturing, Underwater domain awareness, 5G network, Non-lethal devices, Aircraft-trainer, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and Situational awareness.
•iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) initiative is to achieve self-reliance and promote the development of innovation & technology in India’s Defence and Aerospace sectors. PM Modi had launched iDEX in April 2018.
•iDEX has been successful at bridging the gap between talent and demand in the country while offering a strong foundation of R&D, and innovation to the industry.
•iDEX will be supporting 5 times more startups over the next 5 years to complete procurement procedures in a timely manner, accelerate progress, and reduce costs.
•iDEX4fauji is another similar initiative that offers opportunities to service personnel to showcase their talent in the fields of Defence innovation and technology.