Gold & Silver

Kerala loves gold 15 times more than Bihar

Tina Edwin New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018


NSSO survey shows huge diversity in ownership of jewels & precious metals

An average rural household in Kerala owns gold and silver worth an estimated ₹1.61 lakh, nearly 18 times more than the holdings of a similar family in Bihar.

An urban household in Kerala likewise holds precious metals and jewellery whose worth is nearly 15 times more than the value of the holdings of an urban household in Bihar.

In fact, the gold-and-silver holdings of both rural and urban households in Kerala are substantially higher than even the national average, which validates perceptions about the remittances-rich Kerala’s fondness for precious metals, which its folks perhaps see as a store of value.

These are the startling findings from a recent report of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) on ‘Household Assets and Indebtedness among Social Groups’, which shows up a wide diversity among regions and States in their attraction to bullion and jewellery.

Over 82 per cent of rural households in India and nearly as many urban households own a bit of silver and gold, which explains the anxieties and fears over any perceived move by the Centre to place restrictions on their holdings.

The survey was carried out between January and July 2013 and the holdings data pertains to 2012.

Rural households own bullion and jewellery worth ₹39,775 on an average; the matching value of urban households’ holding was on average more than twice as much, ₹85,474.

Bullion and jewellery ownership is low among communities in the North-East and high among those living in Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala.

Over 90 per cent of the rural households in Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and about as many urban households in Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Kerala reported ownership of precious metals and jewellery.

Kerala stands out

In terms of value of holdings, however, it is Kerala’s ownership pattern that is most striking: rural households in the State hold precious metals and jewellery that is worth about four times the national average. Urban households similarly hold nearly three times the national average by value.

Among the larger States, the value of holdings of households in Bihar was on average among the lowest.

The value of the holdings of both urban and rural households in the States is only about a fifth of the national average.

Households in Mizoram have the least holding: a rural household had bullion and jewellery worth ₹1,801, and an urban household ₹16,248.

The holdings of households in South India were higher than the national average. Among the other States, households in Himachal Pradesh reported the highest holding.

Published on December 23, 2016

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