Sports Ministry relaxes arms import provisions for shooters
In what would come as a major boost for the country's top shooters preparing for this year's Commonwealth Games, the Sports Ministry has 'liberalised' provisions for the import of weapons and cartridges for their training.
"The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) has liberalised and rationalised procedures for import of weapons and ammunition and resale of used weapons by renowned shooters," the ministry said in a statement.
"A Committee under Joint Secretary (Sports) examined the existing procedures and decided to liberalise them. The orders to this effect has been issued by the Ministry, yesterday."
Under the new guidelines, the No Objection Certificates required for an import license and the Custom Duty Exemption Certificates will no longer have to routed through the ministry.
"A renowned shooters may be allowed to approach the Regional Authority of Director General Foreign Trade (DGFT) directly after obtaining the recommendations of National Rifles Association of India.
"The present practice of MYAS issuing 'Custom Duty Exemption Certificate' may be dispensed with and a suitable provision may be made for automatic grant of custom duty exemption on the basis of self-certification by the renowned shooter along with the documentary evidence in respect of import of weapons/ammunition."
The Ministry also revised the quota of custom duty exempted ammunition for top shooters.
"15,000 cartridges per year (For renowned shooters participating in one event), 20,000 cartridges per year (For renowned shooters participating in two events) and 25,000 cartridges per year (For renowned shooters participating in more than two events)," the ministry said.
The Ministry said top shooters can now also import upto five custom duty exempted weapons.
"Renowned Shooters may be allowed to avail of Custom Duty exemption for only five weapons, at any point of time. In case, he holds more than five weapons, on which he has availed Custom Duty Exemption, the limit imposed thereafter of five weapons, will exclude the weapons that have completed the minimum usage time prescribed in the import licence.
"As such, import of weapons beyond the limit of five weapons shall not be eligible for Custom Duty Exemption. Further the overall ceiling imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs on holding of weapons will apply," the statement said.
Besides, the shooters will also be allowed to sell their used weapons but only after five years of acquiring them.
"The present practice of prior approval may be dispensed with, and the Renowned Shooter may be allowed, to sell the weapons once he/she meets the minimum duration of use condition i.e. five years in the case of Renowned Shooter, and three years in the case of a Shooter who qualifies as a Renowned Shooter, for three consecutive years", it said.
"The Renowned Shooter may be allowed to sell the weapons to any shooter, who is a valid license holder, registered with District/State/National Rifle Association," the ministry statement said.
The Ministry said the guidelines have been revised after taking the feedback of top shooters.
"The Ministry has examined this issue after receipt of representations from the renowned Shooters that the existing procedure for import of arms and ammunition is very time consuming and causes escalation of cost of import, as well as shortages of weapons/ammunition and thereby, adversely affect the training and practice regime.
"Furthermore, the guidelines for resale of weapons imported by Renowned Shooters is unduly restrictive and hampers the development of sports," it said. PTI PM MRM MRM