The government has amended the rules governing weapons production in an attempt to boost domestic manufacturing and create more jobs.
The amended Armed Rules are expected to encourage manufacturing and facilitate availability of world-class weapons for India’s armed forces and police forces in sync with the country’s defence indigenization programme, the home ministry said.
The amended rules, liberalised as part of the Make In India initiative, will apply to licences granted by the home ministry for manufacturing small arms and ammunition. The rules cover licences granted by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for building tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, defence aircraft, spacecraft, all warships, arms and ammunition and allied items of defence equipment other than small arms.
Manufacturing licences, which had to be renewed every years so far, will now be permanently valid. The licence fee has been cut as well.
While the licence fee so far was fixed at Rs500 per firearm, it has now been changed to Rs5,000 for one to 1,000 units; R15,000 for 1,000-10,000 units and Rs50,000 for more.
The new rules have also done away with the condition that small arms and light weapons could only be sold to the central or state government with the approval of the Union home ministry.
“Further, enhancement of capacity up to 15% of the quantity approved under the licence will not require any further approval by the government. The manufacturer will be required to give only prior intimation to the licensing authority in this regard,” the statement added.
Manufacturers will need to pay licence fees at the time of granting the licence, rather than at the time of application as is the case now.
The move comes two years after the home ministry started working on amending the Arms Act of 1959.
In March 2015, the ministry had stated that it developed and launched the National Database of Arms Licence (NDAL) as an e-portal to collect and monitor the data on arms licences in the county being issued by states and Union territories as well as the centre.
On 1 October 2015, in a bid to curb illegal arms licences, the ministry directed all licensing authorities to enter the data on all arms licences that were being issued or renewed for generating a Unique Identification Number (UIN), failing which no arms licence would be considered valid.
By: Live Mint
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