India’s first Toy Fair will be held virtually from February 27 to March 2, 2021 and all children, parents, teachers and exhibitors willing to participate must register themselves on the India Toy Fair 2021 website launched by the government on February 11. Participants of the virtual toy fair will be able to witness various facets of the Indian toy ecosphere.
It is the first ever digitally accessible exhibition and platform which will provide an opportunity to explore and buy a variety of toys from over 1,000 exhibitors across states and union territories, and participate in insightful webinars, panel discussions and activities, and network with various stakeholders from the toy industry.
Hamleys, the oldest British multinational toy retailer, owned by Reliance Retail, is the tile sponsor of the event and will set up its virtual booth at the fair as well. The multinational retailer will also launch its toy circles in Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad. A CSR activity from Hamleys will provide toy kits and play items for children of Aanganwadis workers. Wooden toys will also be procured for 743 aagnanwadis and distributed to these kids.
During the launch of the fair website, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said that the government had received a lot of complaints about poor quality, cheap toys being imported into the country which was adversely affecting the Indian toy industry. “The matter was examined by a committee which found that 30 per cent of the imported plastic toys were having large amounts of chemicals and heavy metals, way beyond the prescribed levels. Other toys were also found to be deficient in quality. This led to the issue of quality control order for toys. This initiative will ensure that Indians get access to quality toys,” he said.
“Indian toys have been the building blocks of a happy childhood and play-based, discovery-based and activity-based learning plays an integral role in bridging the gap between day-to-day studies and practical hands-on learning which is a prime focus of the new National Education Policy,” Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said at the same event.
Stating that the Indian toy industry was a source of livelihood to many artisans and micro enterprises, Union Minister of Textiles and Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said that six ministries had joined hands to make the fair a “grand success”.
“In a big boost to the toy manufacturing industry under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign, this initiative is being taken to bring transformative change in the industry by being ‘Vocal for Local’,” she said.
The main attractions of the fair include a virtual exhibition with over 1,000 stalls, knowledge sessions with engaging panel discussions and webinars on diverse topics by experts on areas including toy-based learning, craft demonstrations, competitions, quizzes, virtual tours, product launches, etc.
For education sector in particular, the knowledge sessions involving various experts will focus on areas emphasised in the NEP 2020 such as play-based and activity-based learning, indoor and outdoor play, use of puzzles and games to promote critical thinking and overall on how to make learning more engaging and enjoyable.
The exhibitors include businesses engaged in creating happy childhoods and educating children through play as well as NCERT, SCERTs, CBSE along with their schools and teachers, IIT-Gandhinagar, National Institute of Design, and Children University in Ahmedabad.