India on Friday slapped a ban on import of toys from China after cheap supplies from the neighbouring country upset the applecart of the domestic manufacturers.
The ban, notified by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, will remain valid for six months.
While the government notification did not cite the reason for the ban, sources said it was concerned over a rise in imports of toys.
A concern had also been raised over the safety of children playing with the Chinese toys, which were found to be toxic.
Most of the varieties, including wheeled toys, dolls, stuffed toys, toyguns, wooden and metal toys, musical instruments, electric trains and puzzles are covered under the ban.
The Toys Manufacturers Association of India said it was pleasantly surprised by the decision of the Commerce Ministry to prohibit shipments of cheap toys from China.
"We welcome the decision. It is good for the industry," association President Raj Kumar said, adding it is in the interest of the country.
In the face of global downturn, Indian industry has been clamouring for protection from aggressive Chinese manufacturers.
Industry officials said there has been a surge in the import of handicraft and toys by Rs 1,000 crore during April -November 2008.
However, trade expert Arun Goyal said, "The ban would encourage smuggling of toys through Nepal borders. That would be more dangerous... It is bad, especially for the slum children, who an afford the cheap Chinese toys only."