Published on March 1, 2021

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Ahmedabad: The National Institute of Design (NID) has participated in a major way in the ongoing India Toy Fair (ITF) 2021 with exhibition and interactive sessions. In a conversation with TOI, NID director Praveen Nahar and senior faculty members talked about the current toy market in India and the way forward.

“The NID exhibition (in ITF) focuses on the overarching theme of play, learn and design. India has the largest population of children in the world, and good play material can make a significant difference in enriching their childhood,” said Nahar. “Need of the hour is well-designed indigenous toys for children’s development need.”

The NID exhibition has a mix of toys, games, activity kits and outdoor play equipment. “There are projects done with Chennapatna (in Karnataka), Idar (Gujarat), Batto Bai, Indore and Jhabua (Madhya Pradesh) clusters among others that work with leather, turned wood toys, etc. They are part of the exhibition,” said Gayatri Menon, senior faculty at NID. “There are also projects done with materials such as bamboo, coconut fiber and screw pine.”

How would the new policy of supporting home-grown toy industry impact the sector? “The policy would surely give a boost to the industry and also revive traditional toys sector,” said Nahar. “We urgently need to address challenges of setting up ecosystem for production, improving quality, bringing design innovation and engaging diverse expertise. Toy innovation centres should also be set up.”

Menon added that a lot of toy craft clusters are facing difficulties in survival. A policy can give required motivation, but need would be on design, production process, packaging and retailing. Several individual toy makers were part of the Design Clinic Scheme for MSMEs at NID.

The experts also pointed that overall ecosystem which might not change overnight. A faculty pointed out that merchandising is a big concept globally that is fueled by games, movies, TV shows, books, etc. The country needs to look for home-grown toy icons, they added. “But we also need to think in terms of special needs, inclusive play, use of craft and sustainable materials,” said a faculty member.

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