Defence Tech Startups Get Rs 750 Cr ADITI Scheme

The Indian government has launched a new scheme to support and promote innovations in critical and strategic defence technologies by startups. The scheme, called Acing Development of Innovative Technologies with iDEX (ADITI), aims to provide grants worth up to Rs 25 crore for research, development, and innovation in defence technology.

What is ADITI scheme?

ADITI scheme is a part of the iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) framework of the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence. It was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on March 4, 2024, during DefConnect 2024 in New Delhi.

The scheme has a total budget of Rs 750 crore for the period 2023-24 to 2025-26. It intends to develop about 30 deep-tech critical and strategic technologies in the proposed timeframe. It also plans to create a ‘Technology Watch Tool’ to bridge the gap between the expectations and requirements of the modern Armed Forces and the capabilities of the defence innovation ecosystem.

Under the scheme, startups and innovators will be presented with challenges in technology faced by the armed forces and will be asked to come up with solutions. Proposals that meet technical requirements will be eligible for a grant-in-aid of up to Rs 25 crore to develop the required systems within a defined time period.

In the first edition of ADITI, 17 challenges – Indian Army (3), Indian Navy (5), Indian Air Force (5) and Defence Space Agency (4) – have been launched.

Why is ADITI scheme important?

ADITI scheme is important because it will nurture the innovation of youth and help the country leap forward in the field of technology. It will also enhance the self-reliance and strategic autonomy of India in defence sector.

As Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “getting a hold on state-of-the-art defence technology is the most crucial aspect to achieve self-reliance due to the increasing role of cutting-edge technology in warfare. Strategic autonomy can be maintained only when arms and equipment are made in India by our own people. We are working towards this, and the results are positive.”

The scheme will also boost the defence startup ecosystem in India, which has been growing steadily in recent years. According to a report by Inc42 Plus, India had over 200 defence startups as of December 2020, with a cumulative funding of $72 million.

The scheme will also foster collaboration between the defence establishment and the startup ecosystem, which will result in mutual learning and innovation.

How to apply for ADITI scheme?

Startups and innovators who are interested in applying for ADITI scheme can visit the iDEX website ( and register themselves. They can then browse through the challenges posted by the armed forces and submit their proposals online.

The proposals will be evaluated by a committee comprising representatives from the armed forces, DRDO, DPSUs, academia, industry, and iDEX. The selected proposals will be awarded grants based on their feasibility, scalability, impact, and alignment with national security interests.

The startups will also receive mentoring, guidance, testing facilities, and market access from iDEX partners and stakeholders.

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