Back to Growth: Interview with R Jeswant, CEO, Funskool India
1. How do you see the major trends that you witnessed during Covid-19 in your sector pan out in 2021?
Covid-19 can only be an aberration and the industry will surely recover and grow in 2021. Manufacturing activity is picking up and India is emerging as a sourcing destination for many overseas toy companies. With imports likely to shrink in 2021, opportunities are opening up for manufacturing of products for domestic consumption as well. The toy industry is labour intensive and immense possibilities exist for more jobs being created as manufacturing activity increases.
2. What could be your strategy to boost aggregate demand in the sector going ahead into 2021?
We have developed several brands of our own, all manufactured in India, over the last few years and the market has accepted our offerings well. We are planning to expand our range under each of these brands like “Giggles”, “Fundough”, “Handycrafts”, “Play’N’learn” and in the games category. We expect our brands to fill the vacuum created by the likely reduction in imports and are working on capacity enhancement. While we are planning to bring focus to building and nurturing our own brands, we will of course aggressively market our imported distribution lines once imports start opening up on compliance with BIS norms.
3. India being the world’s third largest startup hub, how do you see the start up space in your sector for the coming period?
There is plenty of scope for startups in the toy space. We expect to see a lot of product introductions in toys specifically relevant for India. Traditional Indian toys are also likely to be distributed more widely which will result in such toys addressing a much wider spectrum of the market.
4. Going ahead, what are the 3 most important things that you would want in Budget 2021 for your sector?
Most important would be to have policies consistent with the recent thrust on promoting domestic manufacturing. It is also very important that strict monitoring is enforced to avoid circumventing of the laws.
While this may be difficult to implement it would be great if there could be tax benefits and concessional GST on sales of locally developed brands. Advertising and promotions expenditure on domestic brands could also qualify for tax benefits. Additional incentives for exports of domestic brands would also be desirable.
* The views and opinions expressed above are solely of the interviewee. The content does not reflect Invest India's position or opinion and Invest India bears no responsibility for the same.