Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) is to be launched as a non-profit company later this month to foster technology development and innovative products with commercial potential for the defence sector, informed sources said.
The company is being formed by defence electronics major Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and defence aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Manohar Parikkar when still the Raksha Mantri in December2016 had taken a very important decision by initiating and approving the creation of a Defence Innovation Fund and the formation of a Defence Innovation Organisation. Prior to this innovation was there but limited to the Armed Forces only. There was no institutionalized backing at the Ministry level and nothing much at Services HQ level too. Innovations or JUGADD was at Unit level only backed by the Divisional HQ whenever there was a forward looking General commanding it and whenever there was a thinking General higher up.
So this news of creation of DIO is simply great for the Forces and for the MAKE IN INDIA for the country. Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) is to be launched as a non-profit company to foster technology development and innovative products with commercial potential for the defence sector. As per the Section 8 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013, not-for-profit companies can be established for promotion of art, culture, science etc. The company will fund development of new and innovative products and solutions for India’s defence requirements.
Anyone from academia, medium and small enterprises, research and development institutes, individuals and start-ups can approach DIO for funding. After the launch DIO will choose a knowledge partner for screening the ideas received for funding support. The selected ideas will be financially supported to work on the proof of concept and those will go through further down selection process to select concepts that can be funded for prototype development. The successful prototypes will also be helped in their commercialisation. In case there is good response then the fund can go up to Rs 100 crore. The process of the registration of the company is in final stages.
Now the best part is that the task of forming the DIO has been given to two Defence Navratnas Bharat Electronics Ltd and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The company’s board will initially have two nominated directors, one each from the HAL and BEL.
The process of selection of the nominee directors is under way and in future it may also have some independent directors. Personally I am so happy to hear this news of creation of DIO. I wish it had been there way back in 1993 when the then DGMO, Lt General Vijay Oberoi had backed the initiative of a few Captains and Majors to innovate a simple Explosive Exploder device for the Special Forces. In a months’ time the device had been produced costing just a few hundred rupees. Whereas a foreign brochure mentioned a price of around 5000 to 10000 American dollars apiece.
I am also happy that HAL and BEL have been chosen to form this company…DIO. Both these companies though giants in size, encourage innovation to the hilt. In 2004 HAL had gladly accepted and progressed a project which had to do with some innovations with DHRUV helicopters. The best part was that the project was not initiated by any one from IAF or Army Aviation but by a lowly Infantarian. Though it had full backing of the then DGMT, Lt General H S Panag and later Lt General V K Ahluwalia and the then Scientific Advisor to COAS, Dr Balraj Gupta.
I have also had the opportunity to interact with BEL and have seen with my own eyes the amount of innovation they have done at their production facility.
Colonel Awadhesh Kumar, Veteran