At present, from dolls and playing cards to videogame consoles and board games are all considered toys. There are currently 76 categories of toys and the government plans to recategorise these into 58 tariff lines. The move comes in the wake of around 67% of imported toys failing a testing survey of the Quality Council of India (QCI) last month.
“We need a clear definition of toys because being an MSME product, there is a huge variety which hinders the government from putting checks on its imports,” said an official.
The toy industry in India is primarily in the unorganised sector, comprising around 4,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
India imported toys worth $1.4 billion (around `10,000 crore) in 2018-19. Almost 85% of the toys sold in India are imported, with China being the top source, followed by Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Germany, Hong Kong and the US.
“Technical regulations have been formed for 12 lines and 10 labs approved by the QCI are setting standards for toys,” the official said.
The government has already said that samples would now be randomly picked from each import consignment and sent to NABL-accredited labs for tes-ting and clearance.
“The average lifecycle of a toy is less than a year … it is important to maintain newness and curiosity is a major cause of high imports,” said a toy industry representative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“Toys today are more complex and use awider choice of materials and electronic components,” he said, adding that such complex specifications of these products make it difficult to introduce quality controls on these products.