Toy imports have declined 70.35% in the last three years from $371 million in FY19 to $110 million in FY22, thanks to the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the commerce and industry data shows. At the same time, exports of toys have jumped by 61.38% from $202 million in FY19 to $326 million in FY22 over the same period.

In August 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a clarion call on “Rebranding the Indian Toy Story”. He urged companies to develop the right kind of toys for children, using them as a learning resource. He said toys should be designed based on the Indian value system, history, and culture.

Anil Agrawal, additional secretary, DPIIT, says the imports are mainly restricted to some toy components. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on December 2, 2019, mandated sample testing of each consignment. It said no permission for sale would be given unless the quality testing is successful. In case of failure, the consignment is either sent back or destroyed at the cost of the importer.

Notably, toys have been brought under compulsory Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification. Under this, every toy will conform to the requirements of the relevant Indian Standard. It’ll bear the standard mark under a licence from BIS. The rules apply to both domestic and foreign manufacturers, who intend to export their toys to India.

The quality control order on toys was amended on December 11, 2020, to exempt goods and articles manufactured and sold by artisans registered with the Centre. BIS also made special provisions to grant licences to micro-scale units manufacturing toys without a testing facility for one year.

So far, 843 licences have been granted to domestic manufacturers, of which 645 have been granted for non-electric toys and 198 for electric toys. Additionally, 6 have been granted to international toy makers.

Today, India’s share in the $100 billion global toy market is very small. 85% of the toys in the country are sourced from abroad. The Centre has graded the toy industry in 24 major sectors.

The National Toy Action Plan has also been prepared. It has included 15 ministries and departments to make these industries competitive so India's toys could go into the world. Under this plan, states have been made equal partners in developing the toy clusters.

Efforts are also being made to strengthen the possibilities of toy tourism. Toyathon-2021 was also organised to promote Indian sports-based toys and over 7,000 ideas were brainstormed.

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