Emerging startups focused on new age technology, and recognised by the DIPP can now take part in military projects. The Defence Ministry in its new rules has specified that new firms will undertake research projects to develop or upgrade weapon systems and to work towards reducing imports.
Startups recognised in categories of aeronautics, nanotechnology and Virtual Reality along with renewable technology, robotics, green technology and internet of things (IoT) will automatically qualify to take part in defence projects.
The govt has kept the participation open for all startups for smaller research and development projects.
For projects with an estimated cost of Prototype Development Phase not exceeding Rs 3 crore, no separate technical or financial criteria (will) be defined. This is to encourage start-ups and other than startups into participation, said an ET report.
According to govt officials, there will be no government funding for developing the prototype. There will be an assurance of orders on successful development and trials of the prototype.
The defence services will now shortlist projects that can be awarded under the category. Armed services have identified 53 projects under this Make 2 category.
Govt has taken two startup moves in the last three months. In March, DIPP said that the govt will set up a Rs 1000 crore fund for startups that would be selected through hackathons. In May, it suggested to set up a SEBI regulated fund that will promote startups and will allow foreign manufacturers meet obligations that run in billions of dollars.
In May, Secretary of Defence Production, Ajay Kumar said that AI-based technology solutions will be incorporated in all the three forces. The govt will help equip the army with unmanned tanks, vessels, aerial vehicles, and robotic weaponry.
India, at present, procures around 70 per cent of its defence equipment from abroad.
The government, under the Defence Production Policy, aims to encourage local manufacturing of military aircraft, warships, ammunition and armoured vehicles.