BENGALURU: The imported toy business in the country, disproportionately dominated by China, received two major blows in February – a whopping 60% import duty on electronic toys and the need to mandatorily get a Bureau of Indian Standards certification before September 1. This was aimed at primarily choking the Chinese toy market in the country, say dealers.
The Toys (Quality Control) Order, 2020, issued by the Commerce Ministry, will be applicable for both foreign and domestic toy manufacturers. There are around 1,000 small and big toy shops in Bengaluru, according to the Karnataka Toys Association. Its president Mangalchand Jain told TNIE, “These steps were primarily intended at keeping out the Chinese dominance on the Indian electronics toy market.
At least 85% of electronic toys are bought from China. Chinese toy manufacturers are able to sell them here at cheaper rates as electronic components are available at throwaway prices in China. In fact, there is not a single electronic toy manufacturer in the country.” The standards being demanded from September 1 are very stringent as it requires double certification from the BIS – one for every product produced and another for the factory where it is being manufactured.
“To get certification for their premises, the manufacturer has to bear expenses of the BIS officials, including ticket costs, accommodation, and other costs. This would cost an exporter something between Rs 25 and Rs 30 lakh. From the feedback we are receiving about Chinese traders, most toy manufacturers are not willing to shell out that money,” Jain said.
Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan had announced in New Delhi that BIS officers will be posted at seven Indian ports. “They will take samples and test products for quality,” he said. Despite, BIS standards being mandatory for Indian toy manufacturers too, it looks like the September deadline might be extended. With no clarity in rules, most toymakers are yet to go in for the BIS certification. Jain, who himself owns two toy shops in the city, said he was still assessing how to get his products certified.