To regulate toy trade in India, the government is contemplating mandatory registration of toy manufacturers and a safety standard.
Some NGOs such as Centre for Science and Environment and Toxic Link found chemicals such as phthalates and lead in toys, which are said to be harmful for children.
A large number of such toxic toys are coming from China in absence of any regulation. In a first step to have some regulation, the commerce ministry has come out with draft regulations on registration of toy traders in India.
"We have sought toy industry's comments on new regulations," said a senior government official, expecting the registration to be made mandatory by early next year. The registration will help the government to know what type of toys are coming into India as registered owners will have to keep an inventory of the toys traded by them.
"Registration is just an administrative step," said Ravi Aggarwal of Toxic Link, which in its 2007 study found lead in toys imported from China. "The need is to make out toy industry competitive in the international market and that can happen only if we have good safety standards." About 97 per cent of toy trade worth $ 100 billion is with the Chinese firms.
The draft regulation touches upon the safety issues by saying that toys being sold in India should meet government's safety standards, which so far are voluntary in nature. "