‘Toy Story’: Most Chinese toys fail India’s safety tests

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BY ROHIT VAID
New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS)
Your kids’ health might be at risk from ‘Made in China’ toys that have flooded the local markets, as a recent study has found hazardous heavy metals and other lethal materials used in their manufacturing.
The study, conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI) which has been set up jointly by the Central government and the Indian industry, found that the majority of China-made toys have failed India’s safety standards and are harmful to kids’ health.
Based on the report, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade identified a major lacunae in its earlier notification which allowed such low-quality products to get imported into India and reach the markets.
Now, the DGFT, through its revised notification, has alerted the customs authorities to send samples from every container to be tested for health and safety before they are allowed entry to Indian markets for sale.
“All the seven type of toys which were tested and subsequently failed India’s safety standards are of Chinese origin,” Quality Council of India Secretary General Ravi P. Singh said.
“However, banning all imports is not the solution, we need to create an environment where the imported items are of superior quality than what is available through our domestic industrial capacity and can meet the consumer demands and not adversely affect a child’s health,” he added.
Further, the study revealed that nearly 67 per cent of all Chinese toys failed the safety standard tests as contained in the DGFT notification and the IS standards by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
The government has taken these developments seriously. The Centre is looking into many other products being imported into India and the measures being taken currently to check their quality in terms of health and safety.
The safety issues with ‘Made in China’ toys is not a new phenomenon, as India had earlier banned the import of Chinese toys for a brief period in 2009.
The latest report was derived after the QCI conducted a mystery shopping survey to procure the toys which have been broadly classified into seven different categories – plastic toys, soft toys, wooden toys, metal toys, electric toys, toys intended to be entered by a child and disguise costumes.
The mystery shopping was done in different markets in the Delhi-NCR, like Lajpat Rai, Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazaar, Jhandewalan and Kinari Bazaar.
“With the above test data and analysis on toys available in the market in India, and which were procured on random basis in Delhi-NCR, it is inferred that the quality of toys available in the market does not comply with the Indian Standards, and does not meet safety and quality parameters,” the report said.
“This report provides preliminary information about the toys available in Indian market, and which should form a basis for further market surveillance on regular basis by the BIS or by any other body as authorised by the government.”
At present, the toy industry in India is primarily in the unorganised sector comprising of around 4,000 SMEs.
However, 85 per cent of all toys sold in India are imported with the maximum quantity being shipped in from China.

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