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Toy makers urge government to help promote indigenous products

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Kolkata: All it will take for Indian toy makers to capture a major pie of a Rs.13,000 crore ($2 billion) opportunity is a little push from the government by way of promoting indigenisation to replace the flood of imports largely from China, Taiwan and Italy, manufacturers say.

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The Toy Association of India (TAI), while pegging the country’s market at Rs.13,000 crore during 2015-16, has, however, painted a grim picture as far as Indian manufacturing is concerned.

“Currently, only about 20 percent of the market is served by Indian manufacturers and the rest by import of toys from different countries, mainly from China and Italy,” TAI vice president Pawan Gupta, implying that Indian firms, in the current scenario, will be able to harvest only Rs.2,600 crore from the gigantic pie.

According to TAI, India’s overall toy imports increased at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 25.21 percent between 2001 and 2012 while imports from China and Italy surged at a CAGR of 30 percent and 38.6 per cent respectively during this period.

The Indian manufacturers’ base in the segment comprises mostly of some 4,000 micro-medium firms. Seventy-five percent of these are in the unorganized sector, thereby limiting their scope to upscale production or compete with global brands.

“Competitive countries like China have humongous manufacturing capacities and they flood the markets with their products,” he said.

Lack of adequate finance and distinct clusters for toy manufacturing and low level of product conceptualization and design have been cited as the primary impediments for the industry.

Additionally, hurdles in procurement of critical raw materials have been highlighted as plaguing the Indian small-scale toy makers.

Gupta said the government needs to design simpler procedures for indigenous toy makers to raise capital.

“The success of SMEs in the toy industry can grow manifold if they start working in self-sufficient clusters in certain regions”, he said.

Reputed toy maker Funskool echoed the need for a change in the government’s outlook to boost the industry.

“For toy makers to produce in India and join the Make in India campaign, fundamental changes in the way the government looks at the toy industry is needed”, Funskool (India) CEO John Baby.

The company highlighted installation of proper infrastructure support like R&D, tool-making facilities and testing labs, among others, to enable the growth of indigenous toy manufacturing.

While the sector at present employs around three million people at various skill levels, Baby said the present labor laws do not support the industry to undertake high volume one-run production.

The industry further highlighted the health hazards children may be exposed to when the quality of the materials in the toys are compromised for pricing.

“The cheaper imports of toys, especially from markets like China are available in the market at a lesser price, but their quality is a matter of concern,” Gupta said.

Further, while many global brands are in the process of making their India entry, which will give rise to further innovation and boost the economy, an existing problem has been that most imported toys don’t cater to the needs of Indian children.

“Domestic manufacture also ensures that the Indian buyers get quality and safe toys for their children at affordable prices”, the Funskool official said.

But cheaper imports from the land of the Hans and Tangs alone cannot be blamed for endangering the health of children.

Among the local manufacturers in India, about 59 percent are still focusing on the production of cheap and unbranded toys, thereby compromising on quality.

“In the future it is expected that these companies will shift towards branded toys as well to stay competitive with international companies,” TAI’s Gupta said.

“The coming times are really bright for the toy industry”, Mayank Aggarwal, director of Playwell Implex, a toy distribution company.

He said the industry may touch the Rs.13,000 crore mark by the end of 2015 on account of increasing consumerism and spends from a rapidly expanding middle-class that could comprise over 200 million people by 2020.”The market size is increasing by at least 20 to 25 percent”, Aggarwal.
India’s toy industry caters to an estimated 304.8 million children in the 0-12 age group years and 50 million babies in the 0-2 age group.

(IANS)

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Willing To Shut Government Over Wall Funding: Trump

The House Republicans have always wanted to secure the border, the House Republicans have been passing bills to secure our border.

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U.S. Border Patrol officers on horseback watch President Donald Trump (not pictured) review border wall prototypes in San Diego. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump says he would “totally be willing” to partially shut down the government next week if he does not get more funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to thwart Central American migrants from entering the country.

The U.S. leader, who almost daily unleashes verbal attacks on migrants trying to cross into the United States, told the Politico news site he is insisting that $5 billion for wall construction be included in measures Congress needs to approve to keep several federal agencies open after their current spending authority expires December 7.

Opposition Democrats have said they will approve $1.6 billion for the wall, leaving the two sides far apart. Some Republicans are also opposed to Trump’s wall, which he vowed in his 2016 presidential campaign would be paid for by Mexico, although he now wants U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill.

 

Trump, Government
President Donald Trump listens to a question as he speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. VOA

“I am firm,” Trump said of his $5 billion demand.

“I don’t do anything … just for political gain,” Trump said. “But I will tell you, politically speaking, that issue is a total winner. People look at the border, they look at the rush to the police, they look at the rock throwers and really hurting three people, three very brave border patrol folks. I think that it’s a tremendous issue, but much more importantly, is really needed. So, we have to have border security.”

Trump was referencing a Sunday confrontation at the border in which migrants hurled rocks at U.S. Border Patrol officers, with agents repelling the crowd with blasts of tear gas. Rodney Scott, the chief Border Patrol agent in San Diego, California, just north of the Mexican border, said agents were not seriously injured.

“Their shields and their bulletproof vests actually protected them from the rocks,” he said. “We did have a few vehicles that were damaged, some windows and quite a few dents, but none of the agents were seriously injured.”

Donald Trump, democrats, government
U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledges supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. VOA

Even as Trump voiced his determination to win congressional approval for the $5 billion in initial funding for a wall estimated to cost more than $20 billion, he told The Washington Post in a separate interview that he could find other ways to build the wall or add more security along the border.

“I think that’s been shown better than ever in the last short period of two weeks that we need a wall,” Trump told the newspaper. “I see the Democrats are going to want to do something, because they understand, too. Those pictures are very bad for the Democrats. We’re not having a wall because of the Democrats. We need Democrat votes to have a wall.”

“Now, if we don’t get it, will I get it done another way? I might get it done another way,” he declared. “There are other potential ways that I can do it. You saw what we did with the military, just coming in with the barbed wire and the fencing, and various other things.”

Trump, Government
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin returns to Capitol Hill following a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. VOA

House Speaker Paul Ryan, leader of the current majority Republican bloc in the House of Representatives, told reporters Wednesday that after the nationwide congressional elections in early November, “hopefully … Democrats realize that a secure border should not be a Republican thing, it shouldn’t be a Democrat thing, it’s just good for the country. To actually secure our border. The House is there. We hope the Senate comes with us.”

Also Read: USA Finally Votes On Tuesday To Render Decision On Trump

He added, “Turn on the TV, you can see we have a problem at the border. So, we want to secure our border. The House Republicans have always wanted to secure the border, the House Republicans have been passing bills to secure our border, and I’d like to think that Democrats would also want to join us in securing the border, especially after the election.” (VOA)