New Delhi - The Home Ministry eased the arms rules, including granting life time manufacturing licence to firms and significantly reducing its fee, to boost the government's "Make in India" campaign.
This will also help generate employment in the arms and ammunition manufacturing industry.
The rules are expected to encourage the manufacturing activity of world-class weapons to meet the requirements of central armed forces and police.
A notification for the Arms (Amendment) Rules, 2017 was issued by the Ministry on October 27.
"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," a Home Ministry statement said.
"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 in sync with country's defence indigenisation programme."
The rules will apply to licences granted by the Ministry for small arms and ammunition and licenses granted by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under powers delegated to them, for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, defence aircrafts, it said.
Under the new rules, the requirement for renewal of the licence for manufacturing arms after every five years has been done away with. The licence will now be valid for life-time of the licensee company.
The amended rules applied a condition that the small arms and light weapons produced by a manufacturer should be sold to the central government or the state governments with the prior approval of the Home Ministry. This has been done away with.
Enhancement of capacity of up to 15% of the quantity, approved under the licence, will not require any further approval by the government, the statement said, adding the manufacturer will be required to give only prior intimation to the licensing authority in this regard.
The licence fee has also been reduced significantly.
"Earlier, the licence fee was Rs 500 per firearm which added up to very large sums and was a deterrent to seeking manufacturing licenses. The licence fee will now range from Rs 5,000 to the maximum of Rs 50,000.
"The fee for the manufacturing licence shall be payable at the time of grant of licence 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," it added.