Union Minister of Textiles and Women and Child Development, Smt Smriti Zubin Irani has urged the research bodies working under the aegis of Ministry of Education to look into the prospects of sustainable toys.
Smt. Irani and Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre virtually inaugurated Toycathon 2021 grand finale today. Shri Amit Khare, Secretary, Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Shri Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE, were present at the inauguration session.
Toycathon 2021 was jointly launched by the Ministry of Education, WCD Ministry, MSME Ministry, DPIIT, Textile Ministry, I&B Ministry and AICTE on 5th January 2021 to crowd-source innovative toys and games ideas. Around 1.2 lakh participants from across India registered and submitted more than 17000 ideas for the Toycathon 2021, out of which 1567 ideas have been shortlisted for the three days online Toycathon Grand Finale, being held from 22nd June to 24th June. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this Grand Finale will have teams with digital toy ideas, while a separate physical event will be organized for non-digital toy concepts. India’s domestic market as well as the global toy market offers a huge opportunity to our manufacturing sector. Toycathon-2021 is aimed at boosting the Toy Industry in India to help it capture a wider share of the toy market.
Speaking on the occasion, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani marked the moment as historical where the nations first toy hackathon is being dedicated to the world. The Minister complimented the individual teams that submitted the ideas at Toycathon 2021. She hoped that many more ideas from this toycathon grand finale be commercialized. She emphasized that the toys have huge impact on psychomotor abilities of children, impact their memory skill and generate huge responsibility towards ensuring future autonomy of the child.
She expressed her concerns that 85% toys that our children are playing with are imported and are predominantly made of plastic. Drawing inspiration from Prime Ministers global commitment for sustainable development, Minister invited research bodies and toy manufacturers to make sustainable toys. She also advised that India is known for its engineering potential and our technologists should equip toy sector with adequate and innovative technologies for electronic toys.
Smt Irani also suggested that Ministry of Education and Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with NIMHANS can do a Research paper on the impact of Toys on the neurological development of children, specially the children who are challenged with some disorders and also on ensuring that the toys are used as an effective methodology to help those children come out of these challenges towards amiable solutions.
Smt. Irani said that our legacy of toys has an imprint of handicrafts and expressed hope that the ideas that have comeforth through the Toycathon will also have a significant impact on the handicrafts sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Education, Shri Sanjay Dhotre said Indian toy market stands at around $1.5 billion USD and currently we are importing a major chunk from outside. The global toy market is estimated to be more than 100 billion USD, we must channelize our creative, innovative and manufacturing power to have our share in these areas. This toycathon will provide opportunity to our young innovative minds to lead the path to manufacture toys in India for the world. He suggested that the use of toys could ease the burden of rote learning science and other subjects.
Speaking on the occasion Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Shri U.P.Singh said that along with commercial aspect of the Toy industry, the pedagogy part is very important for inculcating values and ethos in young minds about our history art and culture. He stated that there is huge potential in toy industry and Toycathon is also an integral part of the Toy Fair 2021. He informed that in the virtual India Toy fair which was held from 27th Feb 2021 to 04th March 2021, about 1226 exhibitors from 26 toy clusters from different states and UTs participated. 41 knowledge sessions were organized with over 100 national and international speakers. Over 26 lakh registrations were recorded on the portal – www.theindiatoyfair.in .
Shri Singh also said that today innovation in the Toy industry as per the changing environment in the country and abroad is the need of the hour. He expressed hope that ideas generated in the Toycathon will help in making the Toy industry Atmanirbhar. He also informed that Ministry of Textiles is planning for regional physical toy fair at 12 places.
Shri Amit Khare, Secretary, Higher Education, expressed his concerns that economical value of imported toys is huge and it is a roadblock for Atmanirbhar Bharat. He said that curb on import of toys will generate new opportunities for our artisans. He added that the National Education Policy 2020 advocates for 5+3+3+4 system and it asks for activity-based learning for children through toys and games, here the importance of regional Indian toys is very significant in connecting young minds with our history and culture.