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PM's call syncs with Karnataka's plans for India's first toy cluster

PM's call syncs with Karnataka's plans for India's first toy cluster

Spurred by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'vocal for local' call in his 'Mann Ki Baat' radio programme on Sunday, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said the country's first toy making cluster would be built at Koppal in the state's northwest region.

"In line with Modi's vision of 'vocal for local', Koppal will be India's first toy making cluster in a 400-acre special economic zone, with Rs 5,000-crore investment to create 40,000 jobs over the next 5 years," Yediyurappa said after the Prime Minister's address in his radio programme that is broadcast on the last Sunday of every month.

Koppal is about 350km northwest of Bengaluru in the southern state.

Asserting that India had the talent and ability to become the world's toy hub, Modi called upon startups to work towards harnessing the potential while being vocal about local toys.

Noting that India's share in the global toy industry was very small, the Prime Minister said it was not fair to have such a small share and all have to work towards improving it.

"The global toy industry is worth Rs 7 lakh crore. I have been thinking how can India become a toy production hub, as toys can be used to build minds. Even poet Laureate Rabindranath Tagore spoke about the importance of toys," the PM recalled.

Modi, however, referred to the world famous Channapatna toys from the state's Ramanagara district, about 60km southwest of Bengaluru towards Mysuru, while pitching India to become the global toy hub.

"Toy clusters are coming up across the country with skilled artisans who have expertise in making good toys. Some parts of the country like Channapatna in Ramanagaram in Karnataka, Kondapalli in Krishna (Andhra Pradesh), Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, Dhubri in Assam, and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh are developing as toy clusters," Modi said in his 30-minute talk in Hindi.

Referring to his discussions with the Children University at Gandhinagar in Gujarat and the ministries of education, women and child development and micro, small and medium enterprises, the PM said he was thinking how to make new toys available to the children and how India could become a global hub for toy production.

"Toys not only augment activity, but also give flight to our aspirations. Toys, not only entertain, but also build the mind and foster intent too," asserted Modi.

Using ivory-wood, rosewood or sandalwood, Channapatna toys are made by traditional craft, which is protected as a geographical indication under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the state government.

Toy-making at Channapatna dates back to the reign of Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan in the 18th century when he invited artisans from Persia to train the locals in making wooden toys.

State-run Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation provides assistance to the artisans with marketing efforts to promote and market the toys across the country and overseas.

Karnataka has a legacy of toy making. The state is focusing on building a strong toy manufacturing industry by providing the required ingredients," said State Industries Principal Secretary Gaurav Gupta here on August 25.

Addressing top toy executives in a virtual meeting, Gupta said the state was making efforts to build a world-class cluster for all investors. As part of the toy manufacturing push, the state government is inviting domestic and international toy makers to the proposed toy cluster at Koppal.

According to estimates, Karnataka is the third largest toys market in the country, with a value of $159 million and accounts for 9 per cent of the national market.

Growing at a CAGR of 18 per cent, the state's toy market is projected to touch $310 million by 2023.

"Toy manufacturing in Karnataka is getting a renewed push after Modi's call that the Indian toy market had potential to bring about a transformative change in the industry by promoting 'Vocal for Local' under AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign," said Gupta on the occasion.

Karnataka offers world class machine tools infrastructure, favourable labour laws for toy manufacturers with subsidies to facilitate investments..