The PPP Model

IIT Kanpur to incubate MoD’s flagship iDEX-Prime programme

A FORCE Report

Defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated DefConnect 2.0 on April 22 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. Organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence, Defence Innovation Organisation (iDEX-DIO), the show saw IIT Kanpur sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) in presence of the defence minister. The institute will act as a partner incubator for the ministry of defence’s flagship programme iDEX-Prime. Under the MoU, the business incubator at the institute will offer technical support to start-ups working in the field of modern technologies for defence.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurating the iDEX

iDEX-Prime will support start-ups for projects up to Rs 10 crore to add to the evolving innovation ecosystem nationally across various domains ranging from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Advanced Imaging, Sensor Systems, Big Data Analytics, Autonomous Unmanned Systems, to Secured Communication.

The iDEX Prime programme is launched with six challenge statements from the armed forces for resolution by start-ups and innovators with a grant of Rs 10 crores. The challenges are as follows:

  • To develop an Al-based Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) for identifying and marking mines in a minefield;
  • To develop Advanced Truss Bridges;
  • To develop 11m ‘all electric’ Work Boat;
  • To develop an Automated Celestial Navigation system;
  • To make Expendable Active Decoys; and
  • To develop Signals Intelligence System for Hilly Terrain and High-Altitude Area.

The event attracted a large number of innovators and investors from the country’s leading industries in the defence sector. It included sessions with stalwarts of the industry, various announcements and static exhibitions of an array of start-ups supported by iDEX-DIO.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) recently approved the procurement of 14 products from start-ups under the iDEX programme.

The idea behind DefConnect is to provide a unique opportunity for innovators associated with iDEX-DIO to showcase their capabilities, products and state-of-the-art technologies to the target audience of the industry leaders. The start-ups get to leverage this opportunity to generate investments and leads for future operations.

Till date, iDEX has launched five rounds of Defence India Start-up Challenges and three rounds of Open Challenges receiving more than 2,000 applications from individual innovators and start-ups. The iDEX was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018 during the DefExpo in Chennai.

The idea was that an iDEX display should be held alongside the DefExpo, which happens biennially. This year, however, after the DefExpo was cancelled, the Centre decided to go ahead with it separately.


Tech Expo

Meanwhile, Union home minister Amit Shah inaugurated the FICCI Tech Expo at the 48th All India Police Science Congress, also on April 22 in Central Police Training Academy (CAPT) Bhopal.

Shah underlined the role of technology in policing. The objective of such an initiative is to provide a common platform to various police forces, units, social scientists, forensic experts and other stakeholders to deliberate on selected themes of topical interests to the Indian police.

During this event every year, several papers are presented covering various themes. This year some of them were policing during the pandemic, skills of investigators and aid of technology, law and order processes, leadership mentoring and mental health stress management, prison processes and good practices, human resource management and wellness and many more. Over 100 participants and 20 speakers from different states, Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), Central Police Organisation (CPO), prisons and correctional administration as well as forensic science laboratories and various universities participated in the conference.

Home Minister Amit Shah at FICCI’s tech-expo

The colonial-era ‘danda-based policing is over,’ Amit Shah said, adding that it was time to have the knowledge and technology-based logical policing and that data is the new science and solution to all problems. “This should become the thumb rule for all police forces,” he said.

“Each state should have a uniform set of wireless technology, CCTV network and access to data and real-time data sharing. Every state should have an effective institution of DG (Prosecution) and revive the khabri (confidential informants) system, dog squad and horse squads, besides parade and patrolling,” the home minister said.

He urged all state police forces to shelve the hesitancy in using UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act). “The National Investigation Agency will complete development of a database on terror, bomb blast and plane hijack cases in two-three months. After that all state anti-terrorist squads should study the database in detail,” he said.



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