Indian toy industry needs PLI key to become toy maker for the world

by IANS |

Chennai, Sep 8 (IANS) With increasing exports, growing domestic market, almost zero imports from China, emergence of mega toy cluster, the Indian toy industry is all set to become the toy maker for the world, said the sector experts.

According to them, a little nudge from the Central government in the form of a production linked incentive (PLI) scheme is the need of the hour which would have a multiplier effect.

"We are shipping toys for global majors. Global toy majors are now looking at India as a steady sourcing point apart from China. India is a huge country and is not limited by space or men unlike many other smaller countries," Rajeev Kaul, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director, Aequs Private Ltd told IANS.

"Global toy companies have increased their sourcing from India. Our exports are growing exponentially. We make toys for overseas players and also ship out our own branded toys," R. Jeswant, CEO, Funskool India told IANS.

The Rs 231 crore turnover Funskool earned Rs 145 crore from exports and Rs 86 crore from domestic sales.

"For the current year, we hope to earn Rs 175 crore from exports out of targeted turnover of Rs 275 crore," Jeswant added.

With demand - exports and domestic - increasing Funskool is expanding its production facilities at Ranipet. The company also has a big plant in Goa.

"We are exporting to over 30 countries including the USA and Europe. Ten more overseas markets will be added soon," Jeswant said.

Similarly, Micro Plastics India has announced a new toy facility in Hosur in Tamil Nadu at an outlay of Rs 500 crore.

On its part, Aequs is also putting up a huge facility at Koppal to make toys for the domestic market - for its own brands and for manufacturing toys for others, said officials.

Jeswant said the BJP government's initiatives like increasing the import duty to 66 per cent, compulsory BIS certification of the toy manufacturing units overseas to supply to India has given the needed fillip to the Indian manufacturers.

"It all started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's radio broadcast 'Maan ki Baat' in 2020, where he expressed his desire to establish India as a global toy hub," Jeswant said.

Industry officials like Kaul and Jeswant said once the volumes pick up, most of the raw materials - paints, plastics and resins- will be available within the country while some of these are imported now.

Aequs has begun digital printing/painting of dolls which increases the output manifold while cutting down waste.

"For the past five years, our focus was on contract manufacturing for global toy makers," Kaul said.

Aequs makes toys for global majors like Hasbro and others.

The group has about 4.5 lakh sq.ft toy production facility at its Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Belagavi in Karnataka.

Aequs Group is developing a 450 acre mega toy cluster - 60 per cent SEZ and 40 per cent Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) - at Koppal - the area known for Kinnal toys- in Karnataka.

Officials told IANS that the group will have about 6 lakh toy manufacturing facilities at Koppal - 1.4 lakh sq.ft for DTA and about 4.6 lakh sq.ft in SEZ.

According to Aequs officials, the group offers plug-and-play facilities for toy makers. The facilities are built-to-suit the clients.

"In case of needs the group also provides the units with necessary manpower,a Aequs officials said.

The toy cluster also has a 60,000 sq.ft incubation centre for startups.

"The Koppal toy cluster can have about 100 units and provide direct employment for 25,000 persons," an Aequs official told IANS.

The toy cluster has already attracted component maker Viscon Polymers.

Apart from the toy manufacturers, the central government should also include the infrastructure developers under the PLI scheme, an Aequs official added.

In addition to offering manufacturing facilities, the Koppal Toy Cluster will also offer accommodation facilities for workers and office staff.

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