Nilesh Shah, a part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the PM, has stated 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. In the last 21 years, Indians have spent around $500 billion on gold imports alone.
India is currently working towards achieving the PM’s $5 trillion GDP target. However, Mr. Shah believes that had the habit of importing gold not been prevalent, we would have become a $5 trillion economy much earlier. According to official data cited by Mr. Shah, Indians have spent $375 billion on gold imports on a net basis in the last 21 years. He also noted that there is rampant smuggling of gold evidenced by Customs’ gold seizures on a regular basis.
Moreover, Mr. Shah emphasized that people come back with gold jewellery from destinations like Dubai and successfully walk out of the Green Channel at the port of landing. If the money traditionally invested in gold had been invested in Indian entrepreneurs like the Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas, Wadia, and Adani, the country’s GDP growth and per capita GDP could have been significantly higher.