NEW DELHI: The Union Home Ministry has liberalised the Arms Rules, 2016, to promote export and employment generation in the arms and ammunition manufacturing sector and, thereby, boost the Centre’s “Make in India” initiative.
Under the liberalised Rules, manufacturing licences will be valid for the lifetime of the licensee company, a gazette notification said. The provision to renew licences every five years has been scrapped.
Licence fees have also been significantly reduced. Earlier, the fee was `500 per firearm, which added up to very large sums of money and deterred manufacturers from seeking licences. From now on, it will be a one-time payment ranging between `5,000 and `50,000. The fee will have to be paid when the licence is granted, not at the time of application.
Enhancement of production capacity up to 15 per cent of the quantity approved under the licence will not require further approval by the Government. The manufacturer will only be required to give prior intimation to the licensing authority. A single manufacturing licence will be valid for a multi-unit production facility in a single state or in different states in the country.
According to the October 27 gazette notification for the Arms (Amendment) Rules, 2017: “The small arms and light weapons produced by the manufacturers may be allowed for export subject to the approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Commerce, on a case to case basis.”
It further said: “The liberalised rules will apply to licences granted by MHA for small arms & ammunition and licences granted by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, under powers delegated to them, for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, defence aircraft, space crafts, warships of all kinds, arms and ammunition and allied items of defence equipment other than small arms.
“The liberalisation of the Arms Rules will encourage investment in the manufacturing of arms and ammunition and weapon systems as part of the “Make in India” programme.
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.”