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 ki Baat' 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.
- Photos: 5 Rafale jets arrive in India in a boost to IAF's combat capability
- In pictures: See how India celebrates RakshaBhandan
- India celebrates Janmashtami amid COVID-19 pandemic
- Photo essay: River Ganges flows with history and prophecy for India
- India's largest crocodile park strapped for cash after COVID-19 lockdowns
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.
The prime minister said India has had a rich tradition of local toys and has talented and skilled artisans with expertise in making good toys, noting that some parts of the country are developing as toy clusters.
"We can do two things through toys - bring back the glorious past in our lives and also spruce up our golden future. To my start-up friends, to our new entrepreneurs I say team up for toys. For everybody it is the time to get vocal for local toys," he said.
Modi asked entrepreneurs to develop computer games based on Indian concepts and history.
In this context, he also urged people to raise dogs of Indian breeds at their homes if they consider keeping a pet dog.
Indian breed dogs are being inducted by security forces as well, he said.
In this regard, he also highlighted the contributions of canines in general in thwarting numerous bomb blasts and terror conspiracies while mentioning a few incidents. Even in relief operations, dogs play a crucial role in finding out people buried under rubble.
"At a time when Aatmanirbhar Bharat is becoming a mantra of the people, how can any domain be left untouched by its influence," he said.
Modi also spoke about an 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' app innovation challenge organised earlier this month and noted that nearly two thirds of the around seven thousand entries were from tier two and three cities.
"This is a very auspicious indication for self-reliant India, for future," he said.
Underscoring a deep connection between Indian festivals and environment, he noted that eco-friendly Ganesha idols were installed at most places recently.
'Ganeshotsav' was also celebrated at certain places, he said, praising people's discipline.
Lauding farmers, Modi said they have proven their mettle during the pandemic.
He said the area for the sowing of kharif crops increased by seven per cent compared to last year, paddy by nearly 10 per cent, pulses close to five per cent, oilseeds around 13 per cent and cotton by about three per cent.
He said September will be observed as "Nutrition Month" and added that the need for having a good nutrition is being converted into a "mass movement", especially in villages.
"An Agricultural Fund of India is being created and it will have complete information about the crops grown in each district and their related nutritional value. This fund can be of great use for all of you," he said in his address.
The prime minister also urged people to follow the coronavirus guidelines regarding keeping social distance and wearing masks.