In a recent statement, Nilesh Shah, a part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the PM, expressed his belief that India could have achieved Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s $5 trillion GDP target “long before” if it were not for the habit of importing gold. According to Mr. Shah, in the last 21 years, Indians have spent around $500 billion on gold imports alone.
Mr. Shah voiced his concerns about the impact of this spending on India’s economic growth and development. He noted that despite official data showing that Indians have spent $375 billion on gold imports on a net basis in the last 21 years, there is evidence of rampant smuggling and illegal trade in gold. This has led to significant losses for the country’s economy and has hindered its progress towards achieving its GDP targets.
Moreover, Mr. Shah highlighted the fact that people often bring back gold jewellery from destinations like Dubai and successfully walk out of the Green Channel at the port of landing. He emphasized 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 rate, and per capita GDP could have been significantly higher.