Kolkata: More than a one lakh retailers across the country will be hit by 200% import duty hike, toy importers, who went on strike on Saturday, said.

The Centre, in the Union budget, has proposed raising the import duty on toys from 20% to 60% from the next fiscal, saying that the step would support the MSMEs and promote local manufacturing.

Protesting the move, the toy wholesalers of the city went on a one-day strike, contending that the import duty hike will result in the closure of businesses and a spur in unemployment.

"The 200% import duty hike is a rude shock for the toy industry. It cannot be absorbed by the market as it will make the goods unaffordable for the masses.

"We seek immediate rollback to the previous rate of 20%. We are protesting with a token one-day shutdown today (Saturday)," West Bengal Exim Association joint secretary Mohit Banthia said.

The wholesale market on Canning Street in the city wore a deserted look due to the strike.

The toy importers and retailers will attempt to meet Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to the city on Sunday, Banthia said.

The country imports toys worth around 2,500 crore annually, of which 75% are from China, officials said.

Of the 2,500 crore import, Kolkata's share is of 130 crore, they added.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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