Updated February 26th, 2024 at 22:06 IST

Tapping MSME, startup potential Army's focus area for self-reliance: Gen Pande

The startup ecosystem has been a focus area for the Army in pursuit of 'Atmanirbharta', said Gen Pande.

Reported by: Business Desk
Startup and MSMEs in Army | Image:Startup and MSMEs in Army
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Startup push for Army: Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj Pande has said that tapping Mirco Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the startup ecosystem has been a focus area for the Army in the pursuit of 'atmanirbharta' (self reliance). Addressing during a gathering at the Maharashtra MSME Defence Expo 2024 being held at Pune outskirts, General Pande said Maharashtra deserves a mention for being one of the major contributors to the nation's economy, industrial growth, exports and FDI attractiveness. 

The Army Chief further said that Maharashtra was the first state in the country to frame a Defence Manufacturing Policy after private investment was allowed in the defence sector. The MSME expo, organised by the state government, showcases the indigenous capabilities and innovations of MSMEs, private companies, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories, and Defence Public Sector Unit (DPSU) setups.

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Maharashtra has also declared aerospace and defence manufacturing as a thrust sector in the ‘Package Scheme of Incentives’, and these efforts the state has been contributing more than 20 per cent of the country's output in aircrafts, ships and boats and 30 per cent of the national output in weapons and ammunition, a defence release said.

The COAS, while highlighting India's economic growth, said the nation is witnessing improved consumer affluence, better standards of living, higher literacy quotient and rising aspirations of the citizens. 

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General Pande appreciated the steps taken by government agencies and armed forces in policy reforms, skilling initiatives, infrastructure investment, digital potential, and frontline entrepreneurship and said this signifies the commitment to sustainable development and the promise of being a reliable supply chain stakeholder. "Leveraging both the MSMEs and the startup ecosystem has been a focus area for the Army, as part of the Atmanirbharta pursuit, to meet our capability development requirements," said General Pande.

Under the Innovations in Defence Excellence (iDEX) procurement, all projects are mandated to be progressed through startups, he informed.

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"Currently under the iDEX route, 55 Army projects worth Rs 400 crore are being pursued, which encompass a total of 65 startups. Four contracts worth Rs 70 crore have been concluded for procurement of equipment in limited quantity for field exploitation," he said.

The iDEX route also follows the 'Spiral Mode' of development of indigenous technology and platforms, since exploitation of limited quantity in field conditions enables concurrent development of equipment based on user recommendations, the general added.

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General Pande about the Indian Army's in house Ideas & Innovation initiative, and informed the gathering about two innovations and the technology transferred to industry for mass production, namely 'Vidyut Rakshak', an Internet of Things (IoT) based generator protection system, and a bio medical device.

The Army's endeavour to promote innovation also entails pursuing Intellectual Property Rights for the products developed in collaboration with the industry, he said.

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"To date, 66 IPRs have been filed by the Army. of which 13 patents, five copyrights and five design registrations have been granted," he pointed out.

The Army, during the expo, displayed its indigenous equipment and systems such as Tank T-90, BMP Mk-II, Soltam Gun, Dhanush Howitzer, K-9 Vajra, Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher, Sarvatra Bridge System, Schilka Gun and Fly Catcher Radar of Army Air Defence, Tavor, Sig Sauer & M4 Assault Rifles, Ak-47, Sniper Rifles etc. 

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(With PTI and bureau inputs) 

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Published February 26th, 2024 at 22:05 IST