“Imported toys will be allowed in the country only after they comply with a quality control order that comes into force from September 1, 2020” a newspaper report quoting Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan says. This piece of news by itself may not offer you a bigger picture.
However, if you juxtapose it with another piece of information, then you may be able to gauge the importance of this move. A report from the ET Now website dated July 14, 2020 says this: “80% of Indian toys are Chinese imports and non-branded Chinese toys account for 90% of India’s market.”
So, with the quality control measures of imported toys, China, or any other country for that matter, simply can’t dump products into the Indian market. They need to maintain certain standards which naturally increases their cost in production. It also paves the way for domestic markets to play a role, and money will be held within the country if Indian toy market gets dominated by local players.
Think about it. Making a toy is not a sophisticated technology like making aeroplanes or microchips. There is no reason that India should let this market to foreigners at the cost of local market.
Chinese Toys in the Dock
It was reported back in December 2019 that Chinese toys entering India have increasingly failed quality tests. The study, conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI), set up jointly by the Central government and the Indian industry, found that nearly 67 per cent of all Chinese toys failed the safety standard tests. This study was conducted across seven categories – plastic toys, soft toys, wooden toys, metal toys, electric toys, and toxic elements from these toys can through toys and disguise costumes.
Not a Free Pass
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that officers of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will be posted at seven Indian ports and will “take samples and test the product for quality”.
However, this should not be taken as a free pass for domestic toy industries. They also need to follow the same set of standards specified for the imported toys. Nevertheless, Indian toy industry has an opportunity to build Aatmanirbhar toy market by rising to the occasion. As the CEO of an Indian toy company said in his interaction with ET Now channel, “25% of world children from 0-12 years live in India, so there is a huge opportunity for markets like India. We expect exponential growth in India as parents are exposed to better toy brands.”