Mumbai, July18 2020: Are toys "essential commodities" in these Covid times? Toymakers in India think so!
At a time when the Indian government is motivating the country to 'go vocal for local' and reduce dependency on foreign goods, Indian toymakers are pleading for a helping hand first. They say that we need substantial support to even think of meeting domestic demand for toys.
"While we fully endorse and support Indian goods, we are not ready to handle India's toy demand. India right now manufactures only 15% of its total toy demand. It imports the rest from other countries. If we don't augment our production capabilities and build a toy arsenal right now, we may face anarchy, where children would have nothing except board games", says Rehan Dhorajiwala, the spokesperson from the All India Toys Federation (AITF).
The Federation (AITF) is the apex body of toy manufacturers, traders and sellers in India. The industry they represent was pegged at Rs 3,500 to 4,500 crore ( Rs 35-45 billion)in June 2019. Out of this demand, they claim that India produces only 12-13 per cent toys domestically. The remaining share comes from international brands like Mattel, Fischer Price and others, who mainly manufacture in countries like China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Dhorajiwala adds: "Though the government has announced many initiatives to uplift the Indian toy industry in the last few years, we don't see a corresponding increase in supply. Next, we request the commerce and industry ministries to help boost production and logistics so that we can improve sales and distribution of locally made toys, without impacting the needs of India's children."
According to the Department of Commerce, India imports toys less than 0.15 percent of India’s total import, while the importance of toys in India is more essential than any other goods imported in India. The current COVID turmoil, which stopped international trade entirely, has left parents without a lot of toy options. The newly re-opening stores, retailers and wholesalers are only working with the existing stock.
Toys are not just goods, but play a much more significant role in the development of our future generations. They stimulate the imagination, mental growth and allow a child to understand, interact and connect with the world around them. So, they should have the same status as an essential commodity, especially when most children will remain locked at homes till we're able to ride out the COVID crisis, AITF feels