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Exploring the Different Types of Government Securities in India

26 Oct 2023


Government securities play a pivotal role in the financial landscape of any country, serving as a means for governments to raise funds while providing secure investment options for individuals and institutions. In India, the government securities market is vibrant and diverse, offering a range of investment opportunities to investors. Investing in these options typically provides investors with a steady stream of interest income. Given their government backing, the associated risk with these investment instruments is nearly negligible. Investors looking for low-risk can invest in these securities.

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What are the different types of government securities in India?

These securities can be broadly categorized into four groups:

  1. Treasury Bills (T-bills) - Treasury bills are short-term government securities with maturities ranging from 91 days to 364 days. These securities do not pay interest. They are issued at a discount to their face value and redeemed at par upon maturity, providing investors with a guaranteed return. E.g. A Rs 100 T bill of 182 days will be issued at a discount rate of Rs 96. This same T-bill can be redeemed at maturity at its face value of Rs 100.
  2. Cash Management Bills (CMBs) - CMBs similar to T-bills are zero-coupon securities issued for maturity periods less than 91 days. Cash management bills (CMBs) are employed by the Indian government for short-term cash flow needs.
  3. Dated Government Securities (G-Secs) - Dated Government Securities in India are long-term debt instruments issued by the central government and occasionally by state governments. These securities have fixed maturity periods, often ranging from 5 to 40 years, making them suitable for investors with long-term financial goals.

Dated G-Secs offer regular interest payments, providing a predictable income stream. They are highly regarded for their safety and reliability since they are backed by the Indian government. Investors seeking stable, long-term returns often include dated government securities in their portfolios, contributing to the depth and stability of the Indian bond market.

The Government of India issues nine varieties of dated G-secs as listed below.

  • Capital Indexed Bonds
  • Special Securities
  • 75% Savings (Taxable) Bonds, 2018
  • Bonds with Call/Put Options
  • Floating Rate Bonds
  • Fixed Rate Bonds
  • Special Securities
  • Inflation-Indexed Bonds
  1. State Development Loans (SDLs) - State Development Loans are debt instruments issued by state governments in India. They are similar to government bonds but are issued at the state level. SDLs allow state governments to raise funds for various developmental projects. These securities are considered relatively safe, although the creditworthiness of different states may vary.

Final Thoughts

The Indian government securities market offers a diverse array of investment options to suit various risk appetites and investment horizons. Understanding these different types of government securities allows investors to make informed decisions and diversify their portfolios effectively in the ever-evolving financial landscape of India.


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