In a bid to boost domestic manufacture of arms and ammunition as part of the government’s “Make in India” initiative, home ministry on Monday announced that it has decided to ease the norms for manufacturing and selling of small arms and ammunition.
According to the new rules, manufacturing licence shall now be valid for lifetime instead of requiring renewal every five years, and there will be no need for prior approval if a manufacturer wants to increase production by up to 15 per cent. The manufacturer would be required only to give prior intimation to the licensing authority in this regard. Also, a single manufacturing licence will be allowed for a multi-unit facility within the same state or in different states rather than taking a licence for each manufacturing facility.
The licence fee too has been significantly reduced from Rs 500 per weapon, which added up to a very substantial amount and was a deterrent in seeking manufacturing licenses. Under the revised norms, the fee would range from Rs 5,000 to a maximum of Rs 50,000 payable at the time of grant of license rather than at the time of application.
The condition that small arms and light weapons produced by manufacturer shall be sold to the Central government or state governments only with the prior approval of the home ministry has also been done away with.
The new rules will also be applicable to licences granted by the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, defence aircrafts, space crafts, warships of all kinds, arms and ammunition and allied items of defence equipment other than small arms.
The move is likely to encourage employment generation in the field of manufacturing of arms and ammunition and increase investment, which would further push production in this sector.
Home ministry officials said the new liberalised norms will also help in the availability of state-of-the-art technology and weapons to Indian armed and police forces and the move was in line with the government’s plan for defence indigenisation programme.
The home ministry has issued a notification under the Arms (Amendment) Rules, 2017, to implement the new norms with immediate effect.