India these days is not too slow to catch up with the rest of the world. The toy recall by US-based Mattel has prompted a Mumbai-based Consumer Welfare Association to file a public interest litigation asking for the ban on the manufacture, import and sale of all kinds of toxic toys.
The petitioner has also asked for a study to assess the levels of harmful chemicals in all toys sold in the market – those imported from China and those made locally. China accounts for 50% of the country demand.
While the petitioner should be commended on acting fast to protect consumer interests, I wonder if India has the required infrastructure to monitor contamination. And does it have the laws and the will to track and punish offenders?
China’s problems with quality and chemical contamination are not new but rising global awareness could prompt companies to look at alternative sources of supply. India appears to be well placed to fill the gap. But doubts persist.
I asked a plastics converter last week if China’s quality problems represent an opportunity for Indian manufacturers to expand their presence in the global market. He was honest enough to admit that barring a few exceptions, Indian quality standards in the plastics sector are probably lower than that of China!