Recent financial news headlines have seen some concern with India’s gold imports and the fact that a significant component of domestic savings is “exported” abroad, which could probably be utilised to spur investments and growth in India. The idea of reducing gold imports is important, but suggestions ranging from raising import duties further to imposing bans need to be reassessed urgently. Regardless of the economic situation, utilising savings of the country for investments and thereby creating growth and jobs is a commendable and much-required objective. However, policies employed to do so must be ones that positively incentivise savers to park their savings in investment options linked to the capital markets rather than in gold.
To facilitate the growth of the financial sector, the financialisation of savings further, if done well, can help the situation in many ways. Besides channelling investments into businesses through the capital markets, the assets can yield much-needed social security through income-generating retirement funds as a generation of workers retires over the next few decades. But, to do so, one must look at structural factors that can induce savers to park their money in the capital markets over and above gold.
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September 10, 2019