- Channapatna toys are a particular form of wooden toys (and dolls) that are manufactured in the town of Channapatna in the Ramanagara district of Karnataka.
- This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Government of Karnataka.
- As a result of the popularity of these toys, Channapatna is known as Gombegala Ooru (toy-town) of Karnataka.
- Channapatna toys have a 200 year old history and are made out of wood — soft ivory wood, teak, rubber, cedar or neem — and lacquered with vibrant, natural dyes.
- Its history has been traced to the era of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in the 18th century.
- The fame of Channapatna toys was built on the smooth quality and bright colours of the products that were safe to handle.
- The Channapatna toys are laced with vegetable dyes and colours devoid of chemicals and hence they are safe for children.
Why in News?
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s thrust on going vocal about local toys in his monthly Mann Ki Baat has sent signs of hope to the artisans of the Channapatna toy town.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon start-ups and entrepreneurs to “team up for toys”, pointing out that India’s share in the ₹7 lakh crore global toy market is minuscule.
- He asserted that the country has the potential to be a hub for the industry.
In distress times
- As the number of skilled artisans coming up is dwindling and the new generation is loath to enter the business owing to inadequate returns, the toy town is facing an acute livelihood crisis.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has also dealt a crippling blow to the toy industry.
- Notwithstanding the challenges, including a threat from China, there is a consensus that the sector can regain its glory and compete internationally provided there was government support like guaranteed higher wages, marketing, and other initiatives.