Nilesh Shah, a part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the PM (EACPM), is a mutual fund industry veteran who has expressed his concern about India’s habit of importing gold. He stated that if it were not for this practice, India could have achieved Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s $5 trillion GDP target much earlier.
According to official data cited by Mr. Shah, Indians have spent around $375 billion on gold imports on a net basis in the last 21 years. However, he also pointed out that rampant smuggling and illegal activities related to gold have been contributing to this problem. He mentioned Customs’ gold seizures on a regular basis and how people often return with gold jewellery from destinations like Dubai and successfully walk out of the Green Channel at the port of landing.
Mr. Shah believes that if the money traditionally invested in gold had been invested in Indian entrepreneurs like the Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas, Wadia, and Adani, India’s GDP growth and per capita GDP could have been significantly higher. Therefore, he urges Indians to break their habit of importing gold and instead invest in local businesses that can contribute positively to the country’s growth and development.