New Delhi: Calling on people to be “vocal for local toys”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said about 80 per cent of the toys were being imported by India with crores of rupees going abroad and asserted that it was very important to change this situation.
Noting that India’s share is only about 1.5 billion dollars (over Rs 11,000 crore) in the global toy market of approximately 100 billion dollars (Rs. 7.5 lakh crore), Modi pitched for improving the country’s standing in what he called ‘Toyconomy’ or the economic aspects of the toys and gaming industry.
Prime Minister Modi made the remarks after interacting with participants of Toycathon-2021 via video conferencing.
Toycathon-2021 was jointly launched by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Textile Ministry, Information and Broadcasting Ministry and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on January 5, 2021 to crowd-source innovative toys and games ideas.
“Today, we import around 80 per cent of our toys from abroad. Which means crores of rupees of the country are going abroad on them. It is very important to change this situation,” Modi said.
He underlined that beyond numbers, the toy sector has the capacity to bring progress and growth to the neediest segments of society.
Toy sector has its own small-scale industry, artisans comprising rural population, Dalits, poor people and tribal population, he noted and also talked about the contribution of women in the sector.
“In order to take the benefits to these segments, we need to be vocal for local toys,” Modi asserted.
In his remarks, the prime minister underlined the need to create interesting and interactive games that “engage, entertain and educate”.
He also called for new models of innovation and financing to make Indian toys competitive at the global level.
There is a need for new ideas to be incubated, new start-ups promoted, taking new technology to traditional toy makers and creating new market demand, Modi said, adding that this is the inspiration behind events like Toycathon.
The prime minister referred to the cheap data and growth of Internet led rural connectivity and called for exploration of possibilities in virtual, digital and online gaming in India.
He also rued the fact that most of the online and digital games available in the market are not based on Indian concepts and many such games promote violence and cause mental stress.
“Our focus should be on developing toys, games that present every aspect of Indianness in interesting, interactive ways,” Modi said.
The prime minister said the world wants to learn about India’s capabilities, art and culture, and society, adding that toys can play a big role in that.
Asserting that India has ample content and competence for digital gaming, Modi called upon the young innovators and start- ups to be mindful of their responsibility of projecting the true picture of India’s capabilities and ideas to the world.
Emphasising the importance of toys, he said if the child’s first school is his or her family, then the first book and the first friends are toys.
The prime minister also said that the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence is a huge opportunity for the innovators and creators of the toy industry.
“Many incidents, stories of our freedom fighters and their valour and leadership can be created into gaming concepts,” he stressed.
These innovators have a big role in connecting folk with the future’, Modi added.
Earlier, Modi interacted with participants of Toycathon-2021 via video conferencing during which Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Sanjay Dhotre were also present.
Modi said the participation of over 1,500 teams in the first Toycathon signals the strengthening of the ‘Atmarnibhar Bharat’ programme.
The prime minister said that in the last five-six years, youth of the nation have been connected with the key challenges of the country through the platform of Hackathons, asserting that the thinking behind this was to organise the capabilities of the country and to give them a medium.
Around 1.2 lakh participants from across India registered and submitted more than 17,000 ideas for the Toycathon 2021, out of which 1,567 ideas were shortlisted for the three-day online Toycathon Grand Finale, being held from June 22 to June 24.
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