Indian Government Bonds: A History and Performance Analysis  

Welcome to our latest blog post, where we’ll be diving deep into the fascinating world of Government Bonds india. With a rich and complex history that dates back over centuries, these bonds have played an integral role in shaping India’s economy and financial landscape. Join us as we explore their performance over time, taking a closer look at key factors such as interest rates, inflation levels, and global economic trends. Whether you’re an investor looking to expand your portfolio or simply curious about the inner workings of the finance industry, this is one article you won’t want to miss!

What Are Indian Government Bonds?

Indian government bonds, also called gilts, are debt securities issued by the Government of India to finance its budget deficit. They are issued in various maturities ranging from one year to 30 years. Interest on Indian government bonds is exempt from income tax.

Government of India first started issuing bonds in the late 18th century to fund its wars with European powers. The first regular issue of gilts was in 1812. In the early years, gilt-edged securities were issued only to institutional investors such as banks and insurance companies. Retail investors were not allowed to buy them until 1967.

The yield on Indian government bonds depends on factors such as inflation, interest rates set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the credit rating of India by international agencies. Since independence in 1947, yields on Indian government bonds have fluctuated between 4% and 15%.

The RBI is the sole authority for issuing gilts in India. It manages the government’s debt portfolio and sets interest rates on government bonds. The RBI has been gradually reducing its holdings of government bonds in recent years, and as of March 2018, it held about 5% of outstanding government debt.

Foreign investors are allowed to invest in Indian government bonds through the Quasi-Sovereign Debt program. As of March 2018, foreign investors held about 12% of Indian government debt.

A Brief History of Indian Government Bonds

The Indian government has a long history of issuing bonds, dating back to the early days of the country’s development. The first recorded issuance was in 1837 by the then-Government of India under British rule. These early bonds were used to finance infrastructure projects such as railways and irrigation systems.

After independence in 1947, the Government of India continued to issue bonds to finance its operations and development programme. In the 1950s and 1960s, bonds were extensively used to finance the construction of large dams and power plants. In recent years, government bonds have been mainly used to finance deficit spending and infrastructure development.

The Government of India currently issues three type of bonds: treasury bills, dated securities, and floating rate bonds. Treasury bills are short-term debt instruments with maturities ranging from 91 days to 364 days. Dated securities are long-term debt instruments with maturities ranging from 2 years to 30 years. Floating rate bonds have variable interest rates that are reset periodically in line with market rates.

Indian government bonds are highly sought after by investors due to their relatively high interest rates and low default risk. The yield on 10-year government bonds is currently around 6.8%. In comparison, US 10-year Treasury yields are around 2% and German 10-year Bund yields are around 0%.

The Indian government bond market is one of the largest in emerging markets, with a total size of over Rs 100 trillion (approximately US$ 1.4 trillion ). The government bond market is dominated by institutional investors such as banks, mutual funds, insurance companies, and pension funds. However, it is becoming increasingly accessible to individual investors in recent years through the introduction of new products such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and direct investments through brokers.

Recent Performance of Indian Government Bond Markets

The Indian government bond market has undergone some major changes in recent years. In 2015, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) implemented a new monetary policy framework, which led to the issuance of more government bonds and an increase in secondary market activity. The RBI also introduced several new products, including inflation-indexed bonds and floating rate bonds.

Since then, the Indian government bond market has been performing well. Secondary market activity has been strong, with total turnover reaching Rs 1 trillion (US$15 billion) in 2017. The yield on 10-year government bonds has declined from 7.50% in 2015 to 6.75% in 2017. This is due to a combination of factors, including lower inflation, higher economic growth, and RBI policy actions.

Looking forward, the outlook for the Indian government bond market is positive. Economic growth is expected to remain strong, while inflation is projected to remain under control. This should provide a supportive environment for bond prices and continued secondary market activity.

The Role of Interest Rates in the Performance of Indian Government Bonds

The role of interest rates in the performance of Indian government bonds is an important one. Interest rates have a major impact on the prices of government bonds, and this in turn affects the return that investors can earn on these bonds. In general, when interest rates rise, the prices of government bonds fall, and vice versa.

Thus, it is essential for investors to track changes in interest rates when making decisions about investing in Indian government bonds. Historically, interest rates on these bonds have been relatively stable, but there have been periods of volatility. For example, during the global financial crisis of 2008-09, interest rates on Indian government bonds fell sharply as investors sought safe haven investments. However, they recovered quickly thereafter.

More recently, in 2013-14, there was another period of volatility in interest rates due to concerns about inflationary pressures in the economy. However, overall, interest rates on Indian government bonds have remained relatively stable over time. This has helped to make these bonds an attractive investment for many investors seeking a predictable and consistent return.

Reasons Why Investors Should Invest in Indian Government Bonds

There are several reasons why investors should consider investing in Indian government bonds. For one, the Indian government has a long history of stable and prudent fiscal management. This has resulted in a low debt-to-GDP ratio, which is currently at around 60%. This gives the Indian government ample room to borrow and spend without putting undue strain on the economy or causing inflationary pressures.

Secondly, the Indian government bond market is quite deep and liquid, making it easy for investors to buy and sell bonds as needed. Additionally, yields on government bonds are generally attractive when compared to other fixed income instruments such as corporate bonds or bank deposits.

Investing in Indian government bonds can help diversify an investment portfolio since they tend to move inversely to equity markets. This means that they can provide some protection against losses during periods of market volatility.

Investing in Indian government bonds can be a very advantageous for investors looking for stability, income generation, and portfolio diversification.

Alternatives to Investing in Indian Government Bonds

Government bonds are often seen as a safe and reliable investment, but they may not be the best option for everyone. There are a number of alternatives to investing in government bonds, including corporate bonds, municipal bonds, and treasury bills. Each option has its own risks and rewards, so it’s important to understand all of your options before making any decisions.

Corporate bonds are issued by private companies and usually offer higher interest rates than government bonds. However, they also carry more risk, as there is no guarantee that the company will be able to make its payments. Municipal bonds are issued by state and local governments and usually offer lower interest rates than corporate bonds. They’re considered to be fairly safe investments, but there is still some risk involved. Treasury bills are short-term debt instruments issued by the government with maturities of one year or less. They typically offer low interest rates, but they’re considered to be very safe investments.


Indian government bonds have been an important source of finance for the country over time. Although their performance has varied at different points in history, they have consistently offered a secure form of investing with reliable returns. As India continues to explore new sources of financing and improve its fiscal policies, it is likely that its bonds will remain an attractive option for both domestic and international investors alike.