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'India can become toy hub, time to be vocal for local toys'

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called upon startups and entrepreneurs to "team up for toys", as he noted India's miniscule share in the global toy market of over Rs 7 lakh crore and asserted that the country has talent and ability to become a hub for the industry.

In his monthly 'Mann kiBaat' address, he said it was time for startups to be "vocal for local toys" and also asked them to develop computer games in and based on India, citing the nation's rich heritage and traditions that can drive innovations in the toy and gaming industry.

"Our country has so many ideas, so many concepts; our history has been very rich. Can we make games based on that? I call upon the young talent of the country - make games in India and make games based on India too. It is said that let the game begin! So, let us start the game," he said.

The prime minister had also recently chaired a meeting aimed at boosting India's share in the global toy trade in which China is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters.

Modi touched on a number of issues in the broadcast and lauded people for maintaining unprecedented restraint and simplicity in celebrating festivals during the COVID pandemic and praised farmers for an increase in the sowing area for crops.

He also asked teachers to work to apprise students of local events and heroes of the freedom struggle as India approaches 75 years of Independence in 2022, saying it will bring to the fore stories of lakhs of "unsung heroes", who lived and died for the country but had faded into "oblivion".

Touching on his government's 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' campaign, he said in his address that the country has to be self-reliant in every area and added that a big opportunity lies in the toy and gaming sector.

"You will be surprised to know that the global toy Industry is of more than Rs 7 lakh crore. Such a big business 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?" he asked.

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