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‘Must introspect why we can’t reach China’s global share in toy industry’

Speaking at the second edition of Ahmedabad Design Week, Dr Raghunath Mashelkar said to encourage toy manufacturing in the country 'Design in India’ and ‘Innovate in India’ is of utmost importance.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
February 4, 2021 10:11:33 am
Dr Raghunath during the event on Wednesday. Express Photo

Emphasising on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for going vocal about toys made in India, Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, former director general of Council of Scientific and Industrial research (CSIR) and president of Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Wednesday said there is a need to introspect on reasons India cannot reach China’s global share in the toy industry.

Speaking at the second edition of Ahmedabad Design Week, themed on ‘Toy’ing With Design’ at a private university in Gandhinagar, Dr Mashelkar said, “India has barely 0.5 per cent global market share in the toy manufacturing sector, whereas China has 80 per cent. We must introspect why can’t we be at that level.”

To encourage toy manufacturing in the country, Dr Raghunath said that ‘Design in India’ and ‘Innovate in India’ is of utmost importance.
“The global scene is changing now and people are moving away from China. We must leverage this opportunity with a combination of national initiative (from the industry) and through a sound policy,” he said.

Dr Raghunath also mentioned how India can draw inspiration from its culture, heritage, national icons, and civilisations to bring novelty in toys. “In our National Education Policy (NEP) too, a lot of attention has been given to impact of toys and different aspects of toys that helps in developing psychomotor skills of a child at an early age,” Dr Raghunath said.

Principal Secretary (education) Anju Sharma, meanwhile, said, “The country which has given the world ancient texts, icons like Buddha, Rama, Krishna and legendary people like Gandhi and Sardar, may also have toys that replicate these idols.”

Echoing a similar view, Dr Himanshu Pandya, Vice-Chancellor of University of Gujarat said India must value its worth. “We’re the biggest market in the world but we must be the biggest producers of the world by indigenisation of our world. Why can’t we propagate Eklavya and Bheem through toys instead of Hulk?”

At the inaugural ceremony, several other experts highlighted that toys and games should be utilised to improve cognitive skills in children. “With increasing screen time, focus should be on toys and game design, not on digital platform. Instead, designers must look at the cognitive, creative and linguistic aspect of toys. When we’re putting up tinkering labs, toy making labs must be encouraged,” Pradyumna Vyas, former director of National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad said.

Manish Kukreja, president, The All India Toy Manufacturers’ Association (TAITMA) underlined the importance of innovations in toy design. While speaking on ‘Capacity Building in Toy Manufacturing’, he said design institutes across India have a key role to play in helping toy and game designers get a patent for their innovations.

Indian toy manufacturing has a market size of roughly Rs 7,000 crore per annum, and Indian players have barely 10-15 per cent market share in the total consumption here, the TAITMA president said.

“Apart from less innovations, one of the key reasons why the manufacturing of toys in India hasn’t picked up pace is the lack of ecosystem around it. In India, we hardly have any manufacturers for toy components and, therefore, there is an urgent need to scale up the auxiliary industry in the toy manufacturing set up. The government has done enough by announcing toy manufacturing parks, rationalising GST rates on toys and even enabling start-ups to foray into the toy design and manufacturing sector. The onus now lies upon the industry to leverage the opportunity,” Kukreja said.

The five-day design confluence held virtually at Karnavati University, was organised in collaboration with i-Hub, a Gujarat government initiative. It will continue till February 7.

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