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The Indian Toy Fair 2021: An impetus to ‘Make in India’

Indian toys

The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first-ever Toy Fair 2021 through a video conference. The Prime Minister emphasized the untapped potential of the toy market and shared his vision to make India a global hub for the production as well as the sourcing of toys. The toy fair aimed to provide a platform to revive the traditional, eco-friendly, and indigenous toys and claimed to boost the Indian economy by supporting the local toy industry.

While historically India has a rich legacy of toys, it makes only 0.5% of the total global share at $1.5 bn. This indicates a huge potential of this industry, which is flooding with both traditional, educational as well as unconventional electronic toys. The growing awareness amongst parents has led to the growth of the toy industry in India in recent times with educational toys being their priority. Educational toys can enhance various skills in children at an early age. They can help develop problem-solving, critical thinking as well as conflict resolution skills. Some toys can not only induce motor development but also nurture creativity and imagination during early childhood.

Until now, the Indian toy market was dominated by inexpensive and substandard Chinese electronic toys but now the focus would be on designing better quality toys in India itself. The government has been actively promoting the domestic toy industry through various measures. There is a focus on creating awareness about possible manufacturing units to promote B2B connections and the formation of such manufacturing clusters. Since majority of toys are imported to India, the government also increased the import duty on toys from 22% to 66% as mentioned in Budget 2020. A national action plan has been created by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), MSME, I&B, Education, and other departments to promote the industry.

Due to the pandemic-imposed shut down in schools, alternate ways for early education in the form of educational games and toys were required which facilitated the growth through the e-commerce platforms. Further, the rise in population of a developing economy also acts as a catalyst to the growth of the industry. Going forward, it is critical to boost the sector through public-private partnerships, targeted investments, and incentives for innovation. The future of toys will be influenced by multiple factors and new budding technologies have an important role to play in it. It is paramount to foresee the challenges in bringing these technologies to our industry and mitigate them to create new possibilities for the investors, manufacturers, and consumers.

This blog has been authored by Nalini Bhandari.