Toy sector pitches for PLI scheme,export council to promote growth

NEW DELHI, Sept 16:Extending the PLI scheme to the toy sector and setting up a separate export promotion council would propel the sector by creating jobs and boosting exports, industry experts said.
Currently, the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme covers 14 sectors like pharma and white goods, and aims to boost domestic manufacturing and exports.
Little Genius Toys Pvt Ltd CEO Naresh Kumar Gautam said although support measures announced by the government are helping the industry, the PLI scheme and a council would give further impetus as it holds huge potential for creation of jobs.
The government has significantly increased import duty from 20 per cent to 60 per cent, introduced quality norms and mandated sample testing of each consignment and no permission for sale unless the quality testing is successful.
“At present, the toy industry is going through its golden period. The support measures are helping in bigger ways. But I would like to request the government to include the toy sector in the PLI scheme and set up a separate export promotion council that would provide an added impetus to us,” Gautam said.
He added that the government should also consider formulating a national toy policy to give directions for future growth.
Currently, different states are extending incentives for matters like purchase of land and development of infrastructure, Gautam said.
Talking about the sector, he said there is huge potential for job creation and exports as worldwide people are placing orders for Indian toys.
Ministry of Textiles has identified 13 clusters across the country for the overall development of cluster artisans. These are located at Channapatna, Kinhal, Kondapalli, Etikopaka, Nirmal, Tanjore, Cudappah, Varanasi, Chitrakoot, Jaipur, Dhubri, Bishnupur and Indore.
Gautam, who started his business at a meagre Rs 1,500 in 1990, has now over 400 employees working for him. He is also vice president of Toy Association of India.
“Earlier, situation was not good but the government measures have helped in dealing with our struggles. My brother, Satish Kumar Gautam, MTech from IIT Kanpur, too has joined the business and this reflects the growing interest of youth in the toy industry. Little Genius is now one of the biggest wooden toy firms in the country,” he said.
Sharing similar views, Tarun Chetwani, promoter of Natkhat Toys, said that a separate export promotion council will help the sector get a focused approach from the government.
At present, the sector is either categorised with handicraft or sports goods.
“Huge export potential is there. Industry is now focusing on manufacturing and has significantly reduced imports from countries like China,” Chetwani said.
Manu Gupta, promotor of Playgro Toys India, said exports of toys have increased by 61.38 per cent in the last three years, from USD 202 million in 2018-19 to USD 326 million in 2021-22.
The import of toys has reduced by 70 per cent in the last three years, from USD 371 million in 2018-19 to USD 110 million in 2021-22, Gupta added citing data of the commerce ministry.
He said the government measures have helped several importers to stop imports and make toys locally.
Sandeep Moona, Director, Hilife Marektech Pvt Ltd, said he used to import 100 per cent of premium toys from countries like Germany, but has now started procurement of India-made toys.
He suggested that providing modern infrastructure and technology to local players here will help take the sector to the next level.
“We have all the capacity to cater to the demand of the world. We can also compete with global firms,” Moona added. (PTI)