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That Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the country’s ear, or at least the attention of a large part of India’s population, has been clear ever since his Mann Ki Baat began airing on national radio. More often than not, he strikes a popular chord with the everydayness of the concerns he voices. On Sunday, he talked about toys and their role in the development of our children’s creative faculties. He cited Rabindranath Tagore, who had said that a toy should be imperfect, so that a child can exercise creativity to plug the gap.

But Modi had more than that in mind. He asked startups to work towards making India a global hub for toy production. As of now, the country has only a sliver of a market worth more than $90 billion globally. China dominates the business. But an opportunity has been spied in the world’s turn towards eco-friendly alternatives to plastic and other non-biodegradable materials used in Chinese toys. True, India has a tradition of handicrafts that’s worth preserving. Yet, cottage industries will not be able to scale up and achieve the bulk output needed to keep unit costs low and capture the imagination of kids across the world. For this, other ideas will have to be put in play.

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