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Toy’ing With Design – the theme for Ahmedabad Design Week

A five-day event – Ahmedabad Design Week was held virtually at Karnavati University, and it was organized in collaboration with i-Hub, a Gujarat government initiative.

February 11, 2021

Ahmedabad Design Week

The second edition of Ahmedabad Design Week 2021, themed ‘Toy’ing With Design’, brought together – traditional and modern toymakers along with designers, academicians, and students. Image: Ahmedabad Design Week

Emphasizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s urge for going vocal about toys made in India and encouraging the growth of the domestic toy industry, Ahmedabad Design Week 2021’s theme was “Toy’ing with Design”, highlighting the concept of ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The five-day design confluence was held virtually at Karnavati University (from Feb 03-Feb 07), organized in collaboration with i-Hub, a Gujarat government initiative.

Amid a greater push from the government to make India a toy manufacturing hub, The All India Toy Manufacturers’ Association (TAITMA) chief, Manish Kukreja, emphasized setting up auxiliary units in the country.

While addressing a session on ‘Capacity Building in Toy Manufacturing’ at the second edition of the Ahmedabad Design Week (ADW), he mentioned that there is hardly any capacity in India to make components for toys and that is a major sector with huge potential to help the toy market flourish.

He also asserted that “Apart from less innovations, one of the key reasons why the manufacturing of toys in India hasn’t picked up the pace is the lack of ecosystem around it. In India, we hardly have any manufacturers for toy components and therefore, there is an urgent need to scale up the auxiliary industry in the toy manufacturing set-up.”

“The government has done enough by announcing toy manufacturing parks, rationalizing GST rates on toys, and even enabling startups to foray into the toy design and manufacturing sector. The onus now lies upon the industry to leverage the opportunity and effectively utilize the ecosystem and platform to help turn India into a global toy manufacturing centre”, he further added.

Indian toy manufacturing has a market size of roughly Rs 7,000 crore per annum, and Indian players have barely 10-15% market share in the total consumption here, according to the TAITMA president.

Additionally, he also underlined the importance of innovations in toy design. While speaking on ‘Capacity Building in Toy Manufacturing’, he said design institutes across India have a key role to play in helping toy and game designers get a patent for their innovations.

Ahmedabad Design Week

In the five-day event, there were panel discussions along with interactive workshops organized on the toys of today and innovations in toy design. Image: Ahmedabad Design Week

At the inaugural ceremony, several other experts highlighted that toys and games should be utilized to improve cognitive skills in children. “With increasing screen time, the focus should be on toys and game design, not on the digital platforms. Instead, designers must look at the cognitive, creative, and linguistic aspects of toys. When we’re putting up tinkering labs, toy-making labs must be encouraged,” Pradyumna Vyas, former director of National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad said.

Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, former director-general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and president of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) said there is a need to introspect on reasons India cannot reach China’s global share in the toy industry. To encourage toy manufacturing in the country, Dr. Raghunath said that ‘Design in India’ and ‘Innovate in India’ is of utmost importance.

He also said that “India has barely 0.5 percent global market share in the toy manufacturing sector, whereas China has 80 percent. We must introspect why we can’t be at that level.”

“The global scene is changing now and people are moving away from China. We must leverage this opportunity with a combination of national initiative (from the industry) and through a sound policy,” he said.

He also mentioned how India can draw inspiration from its culture, heritage, national icons, and civilizations to bring novelty to toys. “In our National Education Policy (NEP) too, a lot of attention has been given to the impact of toys and different aspects of toys that helps in developing psychomotor skills of a child at an early age.”