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The Indian road network, comprising of National Highways, Expressways, State Highways, Major District Roads, Other District Roads and Village Roads, is globally the 2nd largest spanning 5.5 million kilometres. India’s road infrastructure has seen consistent improvement in the last few years. Connectivity has improved and road transportation has become a focus of rapid development. Roads are providing better access to services, ease of transportation and freedom of movement to people. Recognizing the significance of a reliable and swift road network in the country and the role it plays in influencing its economic development, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) has taken up the responsibility of building quality roads and highways across the country.
India has the one of largest road network across the world, spanning over a total of 5.5 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. Total length of roads constructed under Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was 47,447 km in 2017-18.
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$ 24.91 billion were recorded in the construction development^ sector between April 2000 and December 2018.
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.
• The first phase of construction work of Mumbai's 29.2 km long coastal road is expected to begin in May 2018, after bids are finalised in March.
Some of the recent government initiatives are as follows:
• 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:
• 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.
The government, through a series of initiatives, is working on policies to attract significant investor interest. A total of 200,000 km national highways are expected to be completed by 2022. 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.