Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday lamented that India could not take advantage of the industrial revolution due to colonialism, which, he said, continued to affect several third-world countries.
He highlighted the need to change the parameters of competition to enable developing countries to catch up and emphasised the need to redefine competition for development and move away from reliance on obsolete technologies and systems of production. ”Innovating in new sectors will enable us to reduce the gap between nations,” he added.
Speaking at the Start-Up Manthan at Aero India 2023 in Bengaluru, Rajnath equated startups with new energy, new commitment and new enthusiasm. He said that start-ups were more open to adopting new technology architecture, making them essential to India’s progress.
He applauded the growth of Indian start-ups in every sector, with numbers increasing to about one lakh today, including more than 100 unicorns.
Rajnath said that the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiative, launched under the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) under the Ministry of Defence, has enabled talent from across the country to come forward. He expressed confidence that India would emerge as a lighthouse for the world in the field of innovation.
At another event on the margins of Aero India, Rajnath declared that a record 75 per cent (about Rs one lakh crore) of the defence capital procurement Budget has been earmarked for the domestic industry in 2023-24, up from 68 per cent in 2022-23. In FY 2023-24, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been allocated a total Budget of Rs 5.94 lakh crore, which was 13.18 per cent of the total Budget (Rs 45.03 lakh crore). Capital outlay pertaining to modernisation and infrastructure development has been increased to Rs 1.63 lakh crore, he added.
Rajnath termed the decision as an unprecedented step taken by the government at the outset of ‘Amrit Kaal’ to further strengthen the defence sector and minimise import dependency. “If you take one step, the government promises to take ten steps forward. You spoke of land to run on the path of development. We are providing you with the full sky. Earmarking three-fourths of the capital procurement Budget for the local industry is a step in that direction,” he said.
The minister exuded confidence that with this step, the Indian industry would come forward with more enthusiasm and contribute to making the defence sector more powerful and prosperous. He was of the view that a strong & self-reliant defence industry would not only strengthen the security system of the country but also bolster the economy.