Different Types of Government Securities in India – Quick Guide

Blog | Investing

Government securities, commonly known as G-secs, are debt instruments issued by the Indian government to raise funds from the public. Think of these like a loan that you give the government. Your return is the interest you are paid for the loan. Since the government rarely defaults on a loan payment, these securities are a safe and reliable investment option for both individuals and institutions. These securities also play a key role in the financial market. We list the different types of government securities in India, their features, benefits and how they contribute to the overall economy.

  • Treasury Bills (T-Bills):

Treasury Bills are short-term government securities with maturities ranging from 91 days, 182 days and 364 days. Think of it as loans with a tenure of less than a year. These are papers issued when the government needs a quick cash boost or the Reserve Bank wants to manage the amount of liquidity in the market. 

T-bills are issued at a discount to the face value and do not pay any periodic interest. Instead, the investors receive the face value upon maturity. Let’s assume the face value of a T-bill is ₹100. As an investor you can purchase it at a discount, say for ₹95. However, at maturity, your money is returned to you at the face value, ie, ₹100. The extra ₹5 you earn is your profit. 

With T-bills, your capital is 100% secure and repayment is guaranteed. This makes it an ideal instrument for short-term cash management. T-Bills are also highly liquid and are actively traded in the secondary market. They can also be used as collateral for bank loans.

  • Government Dated Securities (G-Secs):

Government Dated Securities, also known as G-Secs or government bonds, are medium to long-term debt instruments issued by the government with maturities ranging from 5 years to 40 years. These are like a long term loan you give the government. Unlike T-Bills, G-Secs pay regular interest, called the coupon, twice a year, until maturity. 

In the case of government bonds as well, your capital is 100% secure and repayment is guaranteed. You have the additional incentive of an interest payout every six months. This makes it ideal for institutional investors, banks, and individuals looking for a steady income stream and capital preservation.

  • State Development Loans (SDLs):

State Development Loans are papers issued by state governments to raise funds for various developmental projects within their respective states. These securities have maturities ranging from 5 to 15 years and offer interest rates slightly higher than central government bonds due to the perceived higher risk associated with state finances. SDLs offer investors a chance to participate in state-specific growth while providing a stable income.

  • Inflation-Indexed Bonds (IIBs):

Inflation-Indexed Bonds are a specialised category of government securities introduced to protect investors from the adverse effects of inflation. These bonds offer a fixed real interest rate over and above the prevailing inflation rate, ensuring that the purchasing power of the investor remains protected. IIBs in India are linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and are available in both fixed-rate and floating-rate formats.

  • Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs):

Sovereign Gold Bonds are unique government securities that enable investors to invest in gold without the physical possession of the metal. These bonds are denominated in grams of gold and offer an interest rate, which makes them more attractive than holding physical gold. SGBs have a maturity period of 8 years, but investors have the option to exit after the fifth year. Additionally, they also benefit from potential capital appreciation based on gold price movements.

5 Benefits of investing in government securities:

  1. Safety and security: Government securities are considered virtually the safest investment option as they are backed by the creditworthiness of the government. This is why they are called gilt-edged securities.
  2. Regular Income: G-Secs and IIBs provide investors with a stable income stream through periodic interest payments.
  3. Diversification: Investing in different types of government securities allows you to invest in debt or fixed income instruments. This helps in diversifying an investment portfolio. Therefore, reducing overall investment risk.
  4. Liquidity: Like stocks, Treasury Bills and G-Secs are highly liquid, allowing investors to buy and sell them easily in the secondary market.
  5. Capital Preservation: Government securities are often compared to fixed deposits because they help in preserving capital. However, an important point to note here is that with fixed deposits, only a sum up to ₹5 lakh is insured against bank default. Since governments rarely default, the capital parked in a G-sec is far more secure. 


Government securities are an essential component of India's financial landscape. It caters to the diverse investment needs of individuals and institutions. Whether it's short-term cash management or long-term capital preservation, government securities have a fundamental role in stabilising the financial markets and driving economic growth. As an investor, understanding the different types of government securities can help you make informed decisions based on your financial goals and risk tolerance. Always remember to also do your independent research before making any type of investments. 


Download IconDownload the Upstox App Today