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[Sansad TV] Perspective: India’s Toy Story

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Context

  • The Make-in-India initiative has yielded many positive results.
  • The import of toys is down by 70% in the last three years.
  • Exports have jumped by over 61% over the same period.

In this article, we shall discuss what’s behind the ‘Rebranding of the Indian Toy Story’.

Toy Industry in India

  • Presently, the Indian toy industry is only 0.5% of the global industry size indicating a large potential growth opportunity.
  • The domestic toy demand forecasted to grow at 10-15% against the global average of 5%.
  • The report ‘State of play: India’s toy story- Unboxing fun and beyond’ said India could also target a 2% share of global exports by 2025.
  • There is high growth potential for India in exports of plastic toys and board games in the US, EU, and the Middle East among other markets.

Significance of Toy Industries

  • According to a report by the National Productivity Council, India’s toy industry employs 3 million workers, of which 70 percent are women.

Toy Industries & Women Empowerment

  • Employment in the toy manufacturing sector offers its female-majority workforce avenues for socio-economic empowerment, financial security, and skill development.
  • It also offers opportunities for women to act as agents of change by preserving local toy forms, intrinsic to their regions.
  • Toy manufacturing also creates possibilities for men and women artisans to work together, thereby promoting equal task division and partnerships.
  • For instance, in Tamil Nadu, the manufacturing processes of ‘Vilacharyclay toys are divided between men and women.

Challenges

  • Unorganized and fragmented: It continues to be significantly fragmented, with 90 percent of the market being unorganized.
  • Small scale: 75 percent of domestic manufacturing originates in micro-industries, while 22 percent comes from MSMEs. Less than 3 percent of the domestic toy manufacturing processes come from large units.
  • Less competitive: The retail value of the Indian toy market is INR 16, 000 crores of which close to three-fourths are Chinese imports.
  • Chinese incursion: Consumers are habituated for long to cheap Chinese toys.

Govt Initiatives

  • Toycathon: In January 2021, it launched ‘Toycathon’, a hackathon to develop toys and games based on Indian culture and ethos.
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat: To promote the indigenous toy manufacturing industry, this multi-Ministerial effort sought to create an ‘Aatmanirbhar’ eco-system for local manufacturers by exploring their untapped potential.
  • Formal recognition in years: Toy manufacturing clusters across the country have come to be formally recognized and supported by the govt.
  • Cluster-based production: State govt. are in the process of allocating spaces for toy parks. For instance, Koppal District in Karnataka has recently been recognized as the country’s first toy manufacturing cluster.
  • Tax incentives: Basic Custom Duty (BCD) on Toys-HS Code-9503 has been increased from 20% to 60% in February 2020.
  • GI tags: The Toys bearing GI tags such as Chennapatna, Varanasi, etc. are also being exported. 

Way forward

  • Toy industry has its own small-scale industry, artisans comprising rural population, dalits, poor people and tribal population.
  • In order to take the benefits to these segments, we need to be vocal for local toys.
  • There is a need for new ideas to be incubated, new start-ups promoted, taking new technology to traditional toy makers and creating new market demand.
  • The 75th anniversary of India’s Independence is a huge opportunity for the innovators and creators of the toy industry.
  • Many incidents, stories of our freedom fighters and their valour and leadership can be created into gaming concepts.
  • There is a need to create interesting and interactive games that ‘engage, entertain and educate’.

Conclusion

  • As India looks to build its ‘toyoconomy — women workers will continue to play a significant role in fulfilling domestic demand, reducing imports and raising India’s share of toy manufacturing in the global marketplace.

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