Technology Development Fund: A fillip to the journey to attain sustainability in Defence Production
In 2015, the Government of India aligned itself to a vision of making India the hub of indigenous manufacturing for serving the world. As a part of this vision, the Ministry of Defence, with the Defence Research and Development Organization [DRDO] as its executioner, envisaged the same vision to build a strong self – sufficiency in regards to defence innovations, production and manufacturing by means of incentivization.
The bottomline of this vision is simple: an Indian Company, owned by a resident Indian, can effectively provide a solution the questions of technology indigenization of the Indian Armed Forces and can receive funding for it, provided he/she has the capability to accomplish the same within 24 months and within a budget of INR 10 Crores, which includes costs and timelines necessary for testing, certification and commissioning of such inventive work products. Now, while this is primarily for Indian Companies [SMEs and Startups], not all technological capability is available within the country and therefore, this scheme still permits a window of not more than 49% Foreign Ownership in a Company trying to apply to the scheme.
The architecture of the scheme has been made, taking into consideration the genuineness of a requirement and the feasibility of such a requirement being fulfilled by a company categorized as an SME or a Startup. For example, a paint material may be invented in 8 – 10 months, but can its durability be tested within 2 years, even if the cost of production remains within 10 Crores? Can a SME or a Startup really build a sophisticated Missile Component? These are some of the factors which are considered under the feasibility analysis before the DRDO [Defence Research and Development Organization] considers any requirement to be opened for fulfillments from the end of a SME or a Startup.
And these opportunities are not launched just once in a year, but as a cycle which opens up a set of projects whose requirements were received recently and had been approved after undertaking an extensive feasibility study by DRDO in association with key Industry Players, Academic Institutions and Experts. Being a continuous process, in a single year a participant gets multiple opportunities to prove its mettle in the field of defence production and innovation, with financial assistance available every time it gets selected for the same for a project.
And, the best part is, while the intellectual property is jointly held by the developer and DRDO, after a good period of time (till commissioning and first use case has been accomplished), DRDO makes sufficient room for enabling the developer to launch the same intellectual property in the market, under extant rules of the Government of India.
So, do these prospects excite you? If so, you are welcome to visit the portal of the scheme: http://tdf.drdo.gov.in. In this portal, DRDO not only lists the project opportunities, but provides necessary tutorials for participating in the scheme, and allows a window to directly connect with academic experts and industry players, which it calls “Technology Grid”. If you are a startup or a SME looking forward to be a participant under this scheme and serve the Indian Armed Forces with your innovative thinking, you are welcome to visit and explore the website and register yourself in the portal for regular updates and announcements from the Directorate of the scheme and its stakeholders.