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Toycathon 2021: This Is How a Truly Indian Toy Story is Being Scripted

Among many Aatmanirbhar focus areas that India trained its attention on during the pandemic phase, having a self-reliant toy industry is a major one on which Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke on a couple of occasions.

Why Aatmanirbhar Toy Industry Is Important

India’s toy market stands at around 1.5 Billion USD, which is primarily dominated by imported toys. However, it is not just about ensuring business to Indian companies and Indian toy makers.

Toys play an important role in shaping the ideas and imagination of a kid. Since most of the toys are imported, the characters that our children come to know about and the story they consume will mostly of foreign countries. In a culturally rich country like India where the stories of Panchatantra, Mahabharata, Ramayana evolved, it is evidently tragic if the kids are not familiar with Indian characters and stories.

In this context, PM Modi said:

“We can do two things through toys – bring back the glorious past in our lives and also spruce up our golden future. To my start-up friends, to our new entrepreneurs I say- Team up for toys… let us make toys together. For everybody it is the time to get vocal for local toys.”

Toycathon 2021

Back in August 2020, India started its self-reliant move in the toy segment by placing strict quality control restrictions to imported toys.

Now the next move is to shape Indian toy industry in line with the PM’s vison. The Aatmanirbhar objective can’t be fulfilled if Indian manufacturers copy the style and template of foreign toys and fill the market. The Indianness should be brought in characters and storytelling through toys as well besides the business aspects of toys.

This is what Toycathon 2021 aims to achieve.

It invited Students, Teachers, Start-ups and Toy experts/professionals in India to submit their innovative toys/games concepts and win large number of prizes worth ₹50 lakhs.

The challenge was launched on January 5, 2021 and 20th of this month is the last date for registration of ideas. After evaluating the ideas, teams will be picked for physical demonstration of their ideas. Selected teams and mentors will report at the nodal centres on 23rd February, 2021. The manufacturing/prototyping activity will go on over 23rd-25th February, 2021 slot as per the schedule for different tracks. There will be numerous mentoring and evaluation sessions in this time period.

The ideas that won will receive cash prize and their theme will be adopted for commercial implementation.

Shaping Indian Stories Through Toys

The participants who register for the competition need to choose a specific problem statement offered on the Toycathon 2021 website and come up with creative ideas and toy stimulation in that chosen subject.

These problem statements are designed in a way that any solution to be arrived at should reflect the Indian story.