Government securities comprise dated securities issued by the Government of India and state governments as also, treasury bills issued by the Government of India. Reserve Bank of India manages and services these securities through its public debt offices located in various places as an agent of the Government.
G-Secs are very secure instruments and hence Provident funds, by their very nature, need to invest in risk free securities that also provide them a reasonable return. Government securities, also called the gilt edged securities or G-secs, are not only free from default risk but also provide reasonable returns and, therefore, offer the most suitable investment opportunity to provident funds.
Treasury bills (T-bills) offer short-term investment opportunities, generally up to one year. They are thus useful in managing short-term liquidity. At present, the Government of India issues three types of treasury bills through auctions, namely, 91-day, 182-day and 364-day. There are no treasury bills issued by State Governments.
Treasury bills are available for a minimum amount of Rs.25,000 and in multiples of Rs. 25,000. Treasury bills are issued at a discount and are redeemed at par. Treasury bills are also issued under the Market Stabilization Scheme (MSS).
While 91-day T-bills are auctioned every week on Wednesdays, 182-day and 364-day T-bills are auctioned every alternate week on Wednesdays. The Reserve Bank of India issues a quarterly calendar of T-bill auctions which is available at the Banks' website. It also announces the exact dates of auction, the amount to be auctioned and payment dates by issuing press releases prior to every auction.
Clearly, G-sec and T Bills are extremely secure and backed by the government.
As far as G-secs are concerned it is important to note that several of the large mutual funds, have major investment in these securities. It is not possible to buy directly treasury bills. The best thing to do would therefore be to stay invested in debt mutal funds, which largely park their money in these safe instruments.
Information Courtesy: Reserve Bank of India