PM Modi wants startups to innovate for Atmanirbhar toy sector; suggests ways to boost manufacturing

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August 23, 2020 3:11 PM

Revenue in the toys and games segment in India was $38.1 billion in 2020 and is likely to see 9.6 per cent CAGR till 2023. Globally, China leads the market with a $62.8-billion size of its domestic toy market.

Modi’s suggestions came a day after the Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan announced that imported toys will be allowed in India only after they comply with the quality norms.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged Indian startups to innovate for the toy sector as one of the ways to boost manufacturing and global imprint of Indian toys. In a Twitter thread post meeting with senior ministers and officials, Modi said “I urge start-ups and youngsters to focus on innovations in the toys sector.” He also suggested educational institutions to organise hackathons for students to “innovate in toy technology and design, including online games, to reflect Indian ethos and values.”

Modi’s suggestions came a day after the Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan announced that imported toys will be allowed in India only after they comply with the quality norms from September 1 onwards. The officers of the Bureau of Indian Standards will be present at major ports to collect samples and test the quality of the toy, Paswan had told reported via video conference.

Modi added that India being home to many toy clusters and talented artisans who make toys can help “strengthen life-skills and further psychomotor learning among children.” For this, he suggested that such toy clusters should be further promoted through innovative methods even as a growing toy sector can help further the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and Vocal and Local programme.

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To help domestic manufacturing, the government had increased the import duty 200 per cent in February this year after the government in its union budget had proposed the hike on toys from 20 per cent to 60 per cent from the new financial year. “Import duty was increased, which will help boost domestic manufacturing especially artisans & MSMEs,” Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had tweeted on Saturday.

However, the hike was opposed by toy retailers who are largely MSMEs saying that it would affect over 1 lakh such retailers. “The market will not be able to absorb the price. We are wondering whether toys could be sold at increased prices. For instance, good selling toys such as doctor sets that are sold at Rs 100-150 currently will be sold for Rs 300-350. Battery operated toys are usually that expensive but if non-battery toys would be priced at that level, customers may not buy them,” Abdullah Sharif, Vice President, United Toys Association of Mumbai had told Financial Express Online.

According to statistics portal Statista, revenue in the toys and games segment in India was $38.1 billion in 2020 and is likely to see 9.6 per cent CAGR till 2023. Globally, China leads the market with a $62.8-billion size of its domestic toy market.

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