These clusters will manufacture toys made of wood, lac, palm leaves, bamboo and fabric.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are looking to develop toy clusters under existing schemes such as the Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (Sfurti).
“We are looking to establish toy clusters under the existing schemes of the government,” an official said.
“The government has approved eight new toy clusters in a recent meeting,” a senior official in the MSME ministry said.
The government has approved three clusters in Madhya Pradesh, two in Rajasthan, and one each in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Two toy clusters are currently being implemented in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh under the Sfurti scheme, which offers incentives such as skill development, capacity building, creation of facilities such as common facility centres, rehousing facilities and marketing and e-commerce assistance to local industries.
The plan is to have 35 toy clusters under the scheme, another official said.
“The government is working very swiftly to develop clusters. Approvals are now coming in about six months and it takes another six months for them to be set up,” the MSME ministry official added.
The development comes ahead of the first virtual India Toy Fair-2021 from February 27 to March 2, which will offer opportunities to explore and buy toys from over 1,000 exhibitors across the country.
The measures are part of a National Action Plan for Indian Toy Story that seeks to reduce the country’s dependence on imported toys and improve local manufacturing.
India imported around $1.5 billion worth toys in financial year 2020. Imports from China and Taiwan account for around 90% of the domestic toy market.
The push for local manufacturing is significant as the toy industry in India is primarily unorganised, comprising around 4,000 MSMEs. Dolls, playing cards, videogame consoles and board games are all considered toys.
A recent study by the Quality Council of India (QCI) had revealed that 67% of imported toys failed a testing survey, prompting an aggressive effort to produce safe toys locally.