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In Mann ki Baat, PM Modi talks of Atmanirbhar Bharat for toys

The PM expressed satisfaction over a feeling of responsibility amongst citizens while taking part in festivities amid the Covid-19 pandemic

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

After defence, IT-enabled Apps and virtual games, technology sectors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, continuing his call for an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, urged young entrepreneurs to take advantage of India’s long and rich tradition of toy making and mark its presence in the ‘very vast’ global 7 lakh crore toy market.

The Prime Minister’s remarks came during his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address to the nation over the national broadcaster All India Radio. Quoting Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Modi stressed that instead of imported toys which provide no scope for creativity children should be given domestically manufactured toys that help groom their creative faculties.

“Gurudev used to say that toys should be such that they bring out the childhood of a child and also his or her creativity. In the National Education Policy, a lot of attention has been given on the impact of toys on different aspects of children’s lives. Learning while playing, learning to make toys, visiting toy factories, all these have been made part of the curriculum,” Modi said.

“Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore had said about toys, the best toy is that which is incomplete; a toy that children together complete while playing. Gurudev Tagore had said that during his childhood, he used to make his own toys and games with his friends, with materials available at home, using his own imagination,” PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister said the idea of making toys an integral part of learning came during his interaction with children at the Children University of Gandhinagar, a ‘unique experiment’. “We discussed how to make new toys available to the children of India, how India could become a big hub of toy production,” he further said.

Referring to India’s ‘rich tradition of local toys’ such as Andhra’s Eti- Koppakaa toys, and talented and skilled artisans with expertise in making good toys, the Prime Minister said some parts of India were developing as ‘Toy Clusters’. Some of these clusters are in Channapatna in Ramnagaram, Karnataka, Kondaplli in Krishna, Andhra Pradesh, Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, Dhubari in Assam, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Narendra Modi called upon cottage industries, small industries, MSMEs and big industries and private entrepreneurs to come forward to preserve and promote Indian toys.

He especially exhorted startups and young entrepreneurs team up and make Indian toys’ presence felt in the global toy market worth over Rs 7 lakh crore.

“You will be surprised to know that the global toy industry is of more than 7 lakh crore rupees. Such a big business of 7 lakh crore rupees but, India’s share is very little in this. Now, just spare a thought for a nation which has so much of heritage, tradition, variety, young population, will it feel good to have such little share in the toy market?,” Modi asked.

“To my start-up friends, to our new entrepreneurs I sayTeam up for toys… let us make toys together. For everybody it is the time to get vocal for local toys. Come, let us make some good quality toys for our youth. Toys should be such that in their presence childhood blooms and smiles. Let us make toys which are favourable to the environment too,” he said adding, “be it virtual games, be it the sector of toys in the self-reliant India campaign, all have to play very important role, and therein lies an opportunity too.”

The Prime Minister underlined the need to celebrate the festivals with precaution and expressed satisfaction over a “feeling of responsibility amongst citizens” while taking part in festivities amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He said there was ‘a deep connect’ between festivals and environments.

In this context he mentioned the centuries old practice of self-imposed sixtyhour lockdown- ‘Barna’ among the Thaaru tribal community of West Champaran, Bihar, to help rejuvenate the environment. Modi saluted farmers for record sowing of kharif crop and proving their mettle during ‘trying times of corona’. He said sowing of kharif crops saw a 7 per increase over the last year. He said sowing of paddy, pulses, cereals, oil seed, cotton too witnessed an increase by 10, 5, 3, 13 and 3 per cent respectively.

The Prime Minister said the month of September would be observed as Nutrition Month. “Nation and Nutrition are very closely interrelated. We have a maxim – “Yatha Annam Tatha Mannam,” which means our mental and intellectual development is directly related to the quality of our food intake.

Experts are of the opinion that the better nutrition a child imbibes in the womb and during childhood, greater is the mental development and he/she remains healthy,” the Prime Minister pointed out.