Centre launches ‘Toycathon’ initiative with aim to make India global toy manufacturing hub


For this project, the government has approached the Pune-based Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) and sought its expertise in ancient scriptures

Smriti Irani and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank at the launch of ‘Toycathon’. News18

The government earlier this month launched ‘Toycathon’ — a hackathon for students, teachers, experts and startups to crowdsource ideas for developing innovative toys and games based on Indian culture and ethos.

India imports most of its toys and the government is working towards promoting the indigenous toy industry for making the country self-reliant in the sector, Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles Smriti Irani said at a press conference.

Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ”Nishank”, who was also present on the occasion, said the size of the toy market in India is about $1 billion but unfortunately, 80 percent of the toys are imported.

“The launch of Toycathon is an endeavour by the government to create an ecosystem for the domestic toy industry and the local manufacturers, tapping the untapped resources and utilising their potential,” he said.

The ministries of education; women and child development (WCD); textiles; commerce and industry; MSME; information and broadcasting; and the All India Council for Technical Education have jointly launched Toycathon-2021.

“While this will greatly help India develop into a global hub for toys and games, it will also help our children to understand the ethos and values of Indian culture as envisaged in the National Education Policy 2020,” an official statement said.

Irani said the collaboration with the Ministry of Education paves the way for the participation of students, faculties from all schools, colleges and universities with regards to needs of the MSME industry.

“This is the first time when school children will innovate, design and conceptualise toys also for specially-abled ”divyang children”,” the minister said.

She added that students and faculty members participating in the Toycathon can get prizes of up to Rs 50 lakh.

Irani further stated that the ministries of commerce and MSME have taken various steps to protect the toy manufacturing industry and to make it competitive.

“To create awareness about safe toys which are not harmful chemically, Ministry of Education and Ministry of WCD will adopt special measures,” she added.

Irani also thanked industry participants who have responded to the clarion call of the Prime Minister and supported Atmanirbhar Bharat with regard to this segment of toy manufacturing.

Pokhriyal said the National Education Policy-2020 also lays emphasis on innovation and research in learning, starting from primary education.

Aligned with the goals of National Education Policy, the Toycathon aims to capture innovative prowess of 33 crore students across the country, he added.

For this project, the government has approached the Pune-based Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) and sought its expertise in Vedic studies as well as knowledge of ancient scriptures, according to an article in The Indian Express.

The article quotes Prof Shrikant Bahulkar, Vedic scholar at BORI, as saying, “We have an expert team of oriental scholars, both young and experienced, who can assist in providing ideas and suggestions in developing toys based on Indian manuscripts, Vedas and our history.”

The Toycathon is based on nine themes — Indian culture, history, knowledge of India and ethos; learning, education and schooling; social and human values; occupations and specific fields; environment; divyang ; fitness and sport; out-of-the-box, creative and logical thinking and rediscovering traditional Indian toys.

The Toycathon will have three levels — junior, senior and startup.

According to officials, participants will have two options for idea submission — they can either submit ideas for the published problem statements or under the novel toy concepts category. The timeline to submit proposals is from 5 to 20 January.

“This is the high time we utilise brightest creative minds and carve out games based on our Indian culture, tradition and heritage and stories of ancient India showcasing the beliefs and traditions of people,” a senior official told PTI.

With inputs from PTI

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