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NEW DELHI: In a bid to boost domestic manufacture of arms and ammunition as part of the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the home ministry has notified new Arms rules that allow arms manufacturing licences to be valid for lifetime of the licensee company. Until now, such licences had to be renewed every five years.
The new rules have slashed the arms manufacturing licencing fee from Rs 500 per firearm, which when added up was a huge sum and deterred those wishing to seek the licences. The licence fee will now be in the range of Rs 5,000-Rs 50,000.
The condition that small arms and light weapons produced by the licensee firm shall be sold to the central or the state governments with the prior approval of home ministry has also been dispensed with.
The home ministry on Monday said the liberalised Arms Rules would not only boost ‘Make in India’ policy but also generate employment in the arms and ammunition manufacturing sector.
“The liberalised rules are expected to encourage the manufacturing activity and facilitate availability of world-class weapons to meet the requirement of armed forces and police forces in sync with country’s defence indigenisation programme,” said a press release.
The new rules will be applicable to licences granted by the home ministry for small arms and ammunition as well as those granted by department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, defence aircraft, space craft, warships of all kinds, arms and ammunition and allied items of defence equipment other than small arms.
Under the new Arms Rules, notified by the home ministry on October 27, enhancement of capacity of up to 15% of the quantity approved under the licence will not require any further approval by the government. The manufacturer only needs to give prior intimation to the licensing authority in this regard.
The fee for manufacturing licence shall be payable at the time when license is granted rather than at the time of application. Single manufacturing licence will be allowed for a multi-unit facility within the same state or in different states within the country.
The new rules require licensee to set up the facility for manufacture or proof test of arms and/or ammunition, recruit technical and administrative staff, develop and proof test proto-types of arms and ammunition, conduct trial runs and any other activity related to the setting up of the facility for the manufacture or proof-test of arms and ammunition, within a period of seven years from the date of grant of a licence, extendable by three years based on a written representation recording reasons for such extension. If the licensee fails to setup the manufacturing or proof-test facility within the aforesaid time-limit, or is unable to take other operating steps required for starting commercial production, the licence shall be suspended or revoked.