Best Government Stocks in India

April 24, 2024 Trading 6 min read

Government-owned companies, also known as Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), can be a good investment option. They offer a mix of stability, income, and diversification, making them ideal for investors seeking a reliable avenue for wealth preservation and growth.

Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, understanding government or PSU stocks is key to building a resilient and balanced investment strategy.

In this blog, we’ll delve into what are government stocks, their types, advantages, risks, and how you can go about investing in them.

What Are Government Stocks?

Government stocks refer to the shares of companies owned or controlled by the government, often called Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) in India. A company can be considered as a government stock if the government owns at least a 51% stake in it. When you buy PSU stocks, you’re owning a part of the company, hoping it performs well and its stock price increases. You may also receive dividends, which are a portion of the company’s profits shared with shareholders.

Pros and Cons of Government Stocks

Government stocks can be a valuable addition to an investment portfolio, offering income and diversification benefits. However, investors should carefully consider their investment objectives and risk tolerance before allocating capital to government stocks. It is important to remember that similar to investing in the stock market, government stocks are subjected to the volatility of the market. 


Pros of Government Stocks

Safety: Government stocks are generally considered one of the safest investments because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing government. This means there is a low risk of default.

Steady Income: Many government stocks pay regular interest payments, providing investors with a predictable source of income. This can be particularly attractive for retirees or those seeking stable cash flow.

Diversification: Government stocks can serve as a diversification tool in an investment portfolio. They often have a low correlation with other asset classes, such as stocks, providing stability during market downturns.

Liquidity: Government stocks are highly liquid, meaning they can be easily bought and sold in the secondary market. This allows investors to quickly access their funds if needed.

Cons of Government Stocks

Low Returns: While government stocks are safe, they typically offer lower returns compared to riskier investments such as stocks or corporate bonds. This can be a drawback for investors seeking higher levels of income or growth.

Interest Rate Risk: Government stock prices are sensitive to changes in interest rates. When interest rates rise, the value of existing bonds falls, leading to potential capital losses for bondholders.

Inflation Risk: Traditional government stocks may not offer protection against inflation. As the purchasing power of money declines over time, the fixed interest payments from government stocks may become less valuable in real terms.

Reinvestment Risk: If interest rates decline, investors may have to reinvest their coupon payments at lower rates, reducing their overall return. This can be a concern, particularly in a low-interest-rate environment.

Types of Government Securities

Understanding the different types of government securities is essential for investors seeking to diversify their portfolios. 

Treasury Bonds

Treasury bonds are long-term government securities with maturities typically ranging from 10 to 30 years. These bonds pay a fixed rate of interest, known as the coupon rate, semi-annually until maturity.

Treasury bonds are valued for their stability and reliable income stream over an extended period, making them attractive to investors seeking long-term investment options.

Treasury Notes

Treasury notes are medium-term government securities with maturities ranging from 2 to 10 years. Like treasury bonds, treasury notes pay a fixed rate of interest semi-annually until maturity.

Investors often choose treasury notes for their intermediate duration, balancing the desire for income with flexibility in managing investment horizons.

Treasury Bills (T-Bills)

Treasury bills are short-term government securities with maturities of 1 year or less, typically ranging from a few days to 52 weeks. Unlike treasury bonds and notes, treasury bills are sold at a discount to their face value and do not pay periodic interest.

Investors earn a return by purchasing T-bills at a discount and receiving the full face value at maturity, making them popular for short-term cash management and liquidity needs.

Inflation-Indexed Bonds

Some governments issue inflation-indexed bonds, also known as inflation-linked bonds or real return bonds. The principal value and interest payments of these bonds are adjusted periodically based on changes in the inflation rate, providing investors with protection against purchasing power erosion.

Inflation-indexed bonds are valued for their ability to preserve the real value of investments and are particularly attractive during periods of rising inflation.

Savings Bonds

Savings bonds are non-marketable securities issued by governments to individual investors, often available in small denominations. These bonds typically offer a fixed interest rate and are intended to encourage household savings and provide a secure investment option for retail investors.

Savings bonds may have specific features such as tax advantages or restrictions on early redemption, depending on the issuing government’s policies.

Each type of government security offers unique features and benefits, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of investors. Whether seeking long-term income, capital preservation, or protection against inflation, investors can choose from a range of government stocks to align with their investment objectives and risk tolerance.

Factors to Consider Before Investing in Government Stocks

Before investing in government stocks, investors should consider several factors to make informed decisions. 

Risk Profile

Investors are advised to look into the risks associated with government stocks. Although generally considered low-risk, government stocks see fluctuations in interest rates, inflation, and economic conditions which can impact their value.

Maturity and Duration

Longer-term securities typically offer higher yields due to the extended time frame. However, they are also more susceptible to interest rate risk, meaning their prices may decline if interest rates rise during the holding period. Thus, investors should carefully assess their risk tolerance, income requirements, and investment objectives when selecting government stocks with appropriate maturity and duration.

Government Policies and Reforms

Keeping an eye on government policies and reforms is crucial when investing in government stocks. Government actions, such as privatisation plans, initiatives, and regulatory changes, can significantly impact the performance of government securities.

Best Government Stocks in India

Government Stocks


Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Energy and Oil
NTPC Ltd Energy
Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) Energy
Coal India Ltd Mining
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Energy and Oil
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL)  Defense and Aerospace
Bharat Electronics Ltd Defense and Aerospace
Indian Railway Finance Corporation Ltd (IRFC) Financial Services
Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC) Energy
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Railways and Tourism

Disclaimer: This is for information purposes only and should not be considered as stock recommendation or advice to buy or sell shares of any company. Investing in the stock market can be risky. It is therefore advisable to research well or consult an investment advisor before investing in shares, derivatives or any other such financial instruments traded on the exchanges.

How to Invest in Government Stocks?

Investing in government/PSU stocks follows a process similar to investing in other stocks. To begin, investors need a Demat account for trading in the stock market. They can open an account with a brokerage firm after ensuring that they support the type of government securities you are interested in. 

Investors should then determine their asset allocation, risk tolerance, investment goals, and the amount they wish to invest. Once they have chosen the type of government security, place an order through the brokerage account. Keep track of your securities and monitor the market conditions regularly. Government securities can be affected by changes in interest rates, inflation, and economic indicators.

It is important to review your investment portfolio from time to time and adjust your holdings based on changes in your financial situation or investment goals. 


Investing in government stocks can be a valuable addition to your investment portfolio, offering stability, reliability, and potential returns. Whether you’re seeking income, capital preservation, or portfolio diversification, these stocks can play a crucial role in achieving your financial goals. 

However, government stocks can still be influenced by interest rates, economic conditions, and inflation. Thus, it is important to consider your investment goals and risk tolerance before making an investment decision. Paying attention to changes in any government policies is also essential as they can impact the performance of government securities.


What are PSUs?

The full form of a PSU in Public Sector Undertaking. These are the companies where at least 51% of the ownership is held by the government. The shares of such companies are typically referred to as government shares or government stocks.

Are government stocks safe investments?

Yes, government stocks are generally considered safe investments due to their low credit risk. They are backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing government, making them relatively stable and reliable investment options. However, they are still susceptible to changes in interest rates, inflation, and economic fluctuations.

Can I sell government stocks before maturity?

Yes, government stocks can be sold in the secondary market before maturity, allowing investors to exit positions and realise capital gains or losses based on prevailing market prices.

Are government stocks tax-free?

Government stocks are not always tax-free. Therefore, it is essential for investors to carefully review the terms and conditions of each bond issuance and consult with a tax advisor for guidance on the tax implications of investing in government stocks in India.

Is there an eligibility criteria to invest in government stocks?

The eligibility to invest in government stocks typically extends to a broad range of investors, including individual investors, institutional investors such as banks, mutual funds, insurance companies, and foreign investors. However, specific eligibility criteria and requirements may vary depending on the regulations of the issuing government and the type of government securities being offered.



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