In a path-breaking initiative, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, on March 22, 2022, cleared the procurement of 14 items worth Rs 380.43 crore from the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) startups/MSMEs. These items will be procured by the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.
The DAC also approved the new simplified procedure for procurement from iDEX startups/MSMEs. This would fast-track the procurement from the startups/MSMEs. The procurement cycle from the AON to contract signing will be around 22 weeks as per the new procedure. Suitable incorporation will be made in the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2022. The DAC also approved the simplified procedure for Make-II category projects on similar lines of iDEX procedure and would considerably bring down the time taken from prototype development to Contract signing in Make-II projects.
The iDEX, a game changer in the Defence eco-system, was launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2018 with the objective of fostering innovation and incorporating cutting-edge and disruptive technologies in the Armed Forces in a quick time-frame. The iDEX scheme, since its initiative in 2018, has now gathered momentum, and it is expected that around 25-40 items after the successful prototyping by the iDEX startups/MSMEs, will be ready for procurement by this year end.
The iDEX scheme has been instituted under the over-arching mission of the MoD to achieve self-reliance and indigenisation. The iDEX is catalysing the vibrant energy of our startup eco-system and is today steering trans-disciplinary innovations/projects. An enterprising network of experts from the Services, DPSUs, Industry, Academia, iDEX officials and the startups/MSMEs are involved in the process of co-creation and co-innovation. The aim is to provide atleast 50 world class solutions to the Armed Forces and the defence industry in the near future.
The five editions of DISC and the various Open Challenges have been a huge success and have witnessed tremendous interest and participation from the startups/MSMEs. The iDEX is scaling up at a breakneck pace to support more and more innovators and startups. The iDEX startups/MSMEs are now entering the next phase, i.e., productionisation and commercialisation. This will indeed lead to the broad-basing of the defence industrial base.