One more step towards 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' as PM Modi pushes to make India a global toy hub

Harsh Sanghavi

May 07, 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inaugurated the Indian Toy Fair on 27 Feb via video conferencing. The Indian Toy Industry was neglected for far too long and the toy fair which was launched jointly by Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Smriti Irani and Piyush Goyal, has put the Indian Toy Industry on the global stage. The Swedish furniture major IKEA, which has a range of over 1,000 products as part of its children's range, is looking to scale up sourcing of toys from India. IKEA, which has participated in the India Toy Fair, said it is exploring opportunities to partner with several players in the toy segment, which is a big focus area of the company. The toy fair helped provide a platform for all stakeholders in the business to join hands to create a sustainable linkage and bolster dialogue for the overall development of the industry. Glossing over the increase in the popularity and the sale of imported toys, India's heritage of artists have been ignored for the last 70 years, PM Modi said, "The imported toys brought external thoughts with them. We will have to change this situation together and be more vocal for local."

Further championing the Vocal for Local cause, Modi appealed to the toymakers to be make toys that are more environment friendly and use less plastic. The National Toy Fair will make toy-making more competitive and make India self-reliant. The fair will provide a much needed boost to the Indian Toy Industry and subsequently the demand for handmade Indian toys will see a rise. This was a first ever digitally accessible exhibition where visitors can not only browse and buy toys online but also participate in various events and interact with relevant stakeholders. This is a one of a kind exhibition ever held which will have positive and a long lasting impact on the Indian toy industry, which currently accounts for 0.5 percent of the global demand. The main aim behind the online exhibition is to nurture and enable the domestic toy industry for which the government has also focused on the gaming industry, and organized “Toycathon”, an online toy hackathon for innovative toy/game concepts with a particular focus on Indian culture, civilization and history.

The exhibition along with helping the local artisans and the toy manufacturers will also prove critical to revitalise India's heritage and value systems which can be incorporated sensitively in toys which will have tremendous impact on children's psychology and help them get familiarized with India roots at a tender age. The reformation in the Indian toy industry will have a long lasting impact on kids. Here's what some of the leading experts in Surat who deal extensively with children and their holistic development have to say about the Toy Fair which was held for six days online.

Schweta Merchant Gandhi, Director of Happy Minds and NLP Educator

The fair provided an unique opportunity for people to immerse themselves in the world of toys. To understand the importance of Indian toys will create an exciting opportunity for educators and teachers. It will also provide interest to all age group students for Holistic learning through games. Since I deal with 1000s of kids on daily basis and work on their Skill Development through play, activities and games, I would give a lot of importance to toys in Child’s overall development.
Examples of which are:

Sudipta Roy, Leading Clinical Psychologist

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