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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.

Market size

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.

Key Investments/Developments

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:

  • A total of 892 km and 2,345 km national highway projects were awarded and constructed, respectively between April–August 2018.
  • In March 2019, National Highway projects worth Rs 1,10,154 crore (US$ 15.99 billion) were inaugurated.

Government Initiatives

Some of the recent government initiatives are as follows:

  • The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways is expected to award road projects with a total length of around 4,500 km worth Rs 50,000 crore (US$ 7.15 billion) in 2020.
  • To widen and revamp 1.25-lakh km of roads government of India has approved the launch of Phase-III of its rural road programme Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
  • Under the Union Budget 2019-20, the Government of India has allocated Rs 1.12 trillion (US$ 15.48 billion) under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  • 30,000 kms of PMGSY roads have been built using Green Technology, Waste Plastic and Cold Mix Technology, thereby reducing carbon footprint.
  • The Government of India has set a target to complete one road projects every two days as a part of 100-day plan.
  • As of October 2018, total length of projects awarded was 6,400 kms under Bharatmala Pariyojana (including residual NHDP works).
  • As of August 2018, a total length of 34,800 km road projects have been proposed to be constructed, under Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-I.
  • As of August 2018, Government of India has approved highway projects worth Rs 2 billion (US$ 29.83 million) to improve connectivity among Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Diu.


Following are the achievements of the government in the past four years:

  • As of November 2019, there were 9,242 PPP projects in India, of which 2,864 were related to roads and bridges.
  • A total of 65,000 km of roads and highways are to be constructed under Bharatmala Pariyojana.
  • In the month of December 2018, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) touched a record 31.87 kilometre per day average of national highway construction.
  • The total national highways length increased to 122,434 kms in FY18 from 92,851 kms in FY14.
  • The length of national highways awarded increased to 51,073 kms between FY15-FY18 from 25,158 kms in FY11-FY14.
  • The construction of national highways increased to 28,531 kms between FY15-FY18 from 16,505 kms between FY11-FY14.
  • The construction of national highway per day increased to 26.9 kms per day in FY18 from 11.6 kms per day in FY14.

Road Ahead

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:

  • Development of National Highways to 4/6 lane standards on the following routes:
    • Golden Quadrilateral connecting 4 major metropolitan cities viz. Delhi-Mumbai- Chennai-Kolkata. North South & East West Corridors (NS-EW) connecting Srinagar to Kanyakumari and Silchar to Porbandar with a spur from Salem to Cochin.
    • Road connectivity of major ports of the country to National Highways
  • 4-laning of 4,000 km of National Highways Upgradation of about 20,000 km of National Highways to 2-lane paved shoulder.
  • Six laning of 6,500 km of existing 4 lane National Highways.
  • Development of 1,000 km of fully access controlled expressways under Public Private Partnership (PPP) model following Design – Build – Finance – Operate (DBFO) approach. Nine such expressways have been identified along High-Density Corridors. These corridors will seek to ensure quicker connectivity.
  • Construction of standalone Ring Roads, Bypasses, Grade Separators, Flyovers, elevated roads, tunnels, road over bridges, underpasses, service roads, etc. on BOT (Toll).




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.


National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL)

  • NHIDCL was founded in July 2014 by MORTH to speed up the road construction in strategic areas along the international border and North Eastern Region. It carries the responsibility of developing and improving road connectivity for 10,000 km long roads in the North Eastern region.
  • NHIDCL is spearheading the construction of 142 National Highways for development of 8,100 km of roads with the budget of USD 15.3 billion. On the lines of fortune 500 companies, NHIDCL has adopted the use of e-tendering, e-office and e-governance tools.


  • The programme envisages new initiatives like development of Border and International connectivity roads, Coastal & port connectivity roads and improvements in National Corridors Efficiency Economic corridors.
  • The “mega-plan” which is the second highest highway project after NHDP will provide further boost to the ongoing road/highway development projects and will witness a construction of 20,000 km of highways in its first phase.

Logistic Efficiency Enhancement Programme (LEEP)

This programme rests around 4 pillars:

  • Freight aggregation and distribution
  • Multimodal freight movement
  • Storage and warehousing
  • Value-added services such as custom clearances.

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.

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