India has the one of largest road network across the world, spanning over a total of 5.8 million km. This road network transports 64.5 per cent of all goods in the country and 90 per cent of India’s total passenger traffic uses road network to commute. Road transportation has gradually increased over the years with the improvement in connectivity between cities, towns and villages in the country.
The Indian roads carry almost 90 per cent of the country’s passenger traffic. In India sales of automobiles and movement of freight by roads is growing at a rapid rate.
The construction of highways reached 9,829 km during FY18 which was constructed at an average of 26.93 km per day. The Government of India has set a target for construction of 10,000 km national highway in FY19. The length of national highways constructed reached 6,715 km at a pace of 24.42 kms per day between April-December 2018. As of March 01, 2019, the total length of National Highways in India stood at 132,499 km.
Total length of roads constructed under Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was 47,447 km in 2017-18.
Huge investments have been made in the sector with total investment increasing more than three times from Rs 51,914 crore (US$ 7.43 billion) in 2014-15 to Rs 158,839 crore (US$ 22.73 billion) in 2018-19.
The Union Minister of State for Road, Transport and Shipping has stated that the Government aims to boost corporate investment in roads and shipping sector, along with introducing business-friendly strategies that will balance profitability with effective project execution. According to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), construction development including Townships, housing, built-up infrastructure and construction-development projects attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows worth US$ 25.12 billion were recorded in the construction development sector between April 2000 and June 2019.
Some of the key investments and developments in the Indian roads sector are as follows:
Some of the recent government initiatives are as follows:
Following are the achievements of the government in the past four years:
The government, through a series of initiatives, is working on policies to attract significant investor interest. A total of 200,000 km national highways is expected to be completed by 2022.
In next five years, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will able to generate Rs 1 lakh crore (US$ 14.30 billion) annually from toll and other sources.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has fixed an overall target to award 15,000 km projects and construction of 10,000 km national highways in FY19. A total of about 295 major projects including bridges and roads are expected to be completed during the same period.
Various Road Development Projects
The seven phased NHDP is being implemented by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) with a total estimated expenditure of USD 92 billion. As the largest highway development project in the country since 2000, more than 49,260 km of the roads are being upgraded to match international standards.
Key Projects under NHDP include the following under its various phases:
MORTH’s role is crucial in states with hilly terrains as many of these places have cultural, religious and economic relevance. Further, the roads in hilly areas are strategically significant due to its proximity to international borders and defence establishments.
The Ministry conducted a detailed review of the road network in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh with an aim to improve road connectivity to coastal/border areas, backward areas, religious places, tourist places, construction / rehabilitation / widening of about 1500 major bridges, 208 Railway over Bridges (ROBs) and Railway under Bridges (RUBs) and improvement of newly declared NHs and providing them connectivity to District Head Quarters.
The Bharatmala Pariyojana envisages a “Connectivity Improvement Programme” for Char-Dham (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunothri & Gangothri in Uttarakhand).
Improving road and transport infrastructure in the North-East India is a priority for the Government of India. MORTH plans to upgrade 10,141 km of roads in the region through three phased SARDP-NE, which aims to improve road connectivity in all district headquarters in the North Eastern region.
‘Phase A’ of the project includes upgradation of 4,099 km of road at an estimated cost of USD 3.3 billion. It is expected to be completed by March 2021. 3,723 km of road stretch has been approved at an estimated budget of USD 9.8 million under the Phase B.
The third phase is the “Arunachal Pradesh Package of Roads and Highways” under which road construction of 2319 km road has been approved.
Taking ahead the Prime Minister’s vision to develop North-East India as a gateway to South-East Asia, the government is implementing the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project to connect Kolkata and Sittwe Port in Myanmar at an estimated cost of USD 82 million.The project involves constructing more than 200 km long road which passes through the Indo-Myanmar border.
The government has approved the Road Requirement Plan (RRP) for the development of NHs and State Highways in 34 remote districts in states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
The estimated cost for this project is USD 1 billion and development of 5,477 km of National Highways and State Roads is planned.
OTHER INITIATIVES BY MORTH
National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL)
Logistic Efficiency Enhancement Programme (LEEP)
This programme rests around 4 pillars:
Through addressing these, the programme aims to enhance freight transportation in India through improving cost, time by as much as 10% and tracking and transferability of consignments through infrastructure, procedural and Information Technology (IT) interventions.
Under the first phase of LEEP, USD 5 billion have been allocated for development of multimodal logistics parks and 15 locations have been identified for this purpose. These parks will ensure that shifting from one mode of transport to another does not result in excessive time loss and wastage in handling.