Toy Industry of India


    In News

    India has recently turned a net exporter of toys, during 2020-21 and 2021-22, ending decades of import dominance. 

    Toy Sector in India 

    • Historical Linkages: India has a rich history of toys. 
      • The invention of toys in India took place during the Indus Valley Civilization, approximately 8,000 years ago. 
      • The original toys comprised whistle-shaped parrots, toy monkeys with long hands to slide down a rope or stick, and miniature farm carts. 
      • All these toys were made from natural materials such as bamboo sticks, hay, natural clay-like soil, rocks, and fiber cloth. 
    • Current Scenario: Today, the advent of progressive technology and mechanism has stimulated companies to produce fresh and inventive toys. 


    • The Indian toy sector is expanding on the shoulder of a growing young population, rising disposable incomes, and a slew of innovations for the junior population base. 
    • Toys have been recognised as one of the champion sectors with significant export potential.
    • The industry stands on the cusp of significant opportunities in every toy segment such as electronic toys, puzzles, construction and building toys, dolls, ride-ons, sports and outdoor play toys, infant/preschool toys, and activity toys.
      • The Indian toy industry is expanding its global presence, with increased high-value exports to Middle East and African countries.


    • Between 2018-19 and 2021-22, toy exports increased from $109 million (₹812 crore) to $177 million (₹1,237 crore). 
    • Imports declined from $371 million (₹2,593 crores) to $110 million (₹819 crores).
    • India turning a net exporter of toys is mainly due to rising protectionism and less, perhaps, on account of expanding domestic capabilities.
    • The achievement is widely credited to the ‘Make in India’ initiative launched in 2014, and related policies.

    Issues and Challenges

    • India’s toy industry is minuscule and during the one-and-half decades between 2000 and 2016, industry output was halved in real terms (net of inflation) with job losses.
    • Imports accounted for up to 80% of domestic sales until recently. Between 2000 and 2018-19, imports rose by nearly three times as much as exports.
    • India hardly figures in the global toy trade, with its exports at a mere half a percentage point. 
      • Between 2014-19, the Indian toy industry witnessed negative productivity growth. 
    • India followed an inward-oriented industrial policy in the Planning era, which sheltered domestic production by providing a “double protection” — by import tariffs and reservation of the product for exclusive production in the small-scale sector — known as the “reservation policy”. 
    • Toy manufacturing remained stagnant, archaic, and fragmented, even as imports of modern, safe, and branded toys boomed. 
    • The output of the informal or unorganised sector shrank, though it continues to account for the majority of establishments and employment.
    • Make in India’ had a negligible effect on strengthening toy production and exports on a sustained basis.

    Global Competitors 

    • Historically, Asia’s successful industrialising nations promoted toy exports for job creation, starting with Japan about a century ago, China since the 1980s, and currently Vietnam following in their footsteps. 

    Steps of India 

    • the government has taken several steps to restrict the import of sub-standard and unsafe toys and to promote the domestic toy industry.
      • Under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), margin money assistance up to 35% of the project cost is provided for the unit costing up to ₹50 lakh for manufacturing sector and ₹20 lakh in the service sector.
      • Under the Scheme of Funds for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI), assistance is provided for creation of Common Facility Centres with latest machines, design centres, skill development, etc.
        • A total of 19 toy clusters have been approved under the scheme benefitting 11,749 artisans with an outlay of ₹55.65 crore.
      • Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)  mandated sample testing of each consignment and no permission for sale unless the quality testing is successful. 
      • The Government issued Toys (Quality Control) Order through which toys have been brought under compulsory Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification with effect from 01/01/2021. 
        • This QCO is applicable to both domestic manufacturers as well as foreign manufacturers who intend to export their toys to India.
    •  The Government of India is planning to provide comprehensive support to pomote ‘Vocal for Local’ in toys  through National Action Plan for Toys (NAPT) by bringing together 20+ Ministries/ Departments. 
    • 100% FDI is allowed under the Automatic Route.

    Conclusion and Way Forward 

    • To sum up, India’s export surplus in toys during 2020-21 and 2021-22, is a welcome change. 
    • But Neither the reservation policy during the Planning era nor its abolition after the liberal reforms boosted the industry’s performance. 
    • One should perhaps look beyond simplistic binaries — planning versus reforms — and examine the ground reality of industrial locations and clusters to tailor policies and institutions to nurture such industries.
    • We need to support and promote the heritage of our traditional toys

    List of Traditional Toys in India with GI tag 

    • Thanjavur Dancing Dolls, traditionally known as Thanjavur Thalaiyatti Bommai, are part of an eclectic heritage of beautiful handicrafts from Tanjore (Tamil Nadu).
    • Channapatna toy: Channapatna town is in the Ramanagara District in Karnataka and is popularly known as ‘Gombegala Nagara’ (City of Toys) or the ‘Toy Land of Karnataka’.
    • Etikoppakka Toys: Etikoppakka  is a small village located on the banks of the river Varaha in Vishakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh.
      • Made in the Etikoppaka region of Andhra Pradesh, these toys are made with lacquer color and are traditionally known as Etikoppaka toys or Etikoppaka Bommalu. The village is very famous for its toys made of wood.
    • Kondapalli Toys: Kondapalli toys – cultural icons of Andhra Pradesh – are one of the most sold handicrafts in India and abroad, across online, wholesale, and retail platforms.

    Source: TH

    Mains Practice Question 

    [Q] The Indian toy industry and its craftspeople face survival challenges in today’s market. Discuss