For a developing country, infrastructure is very important. It is the lifeline of the nation as it can give direction to the growth of the country. Only an efficient and well-maintained transport infrastructure can keep the momentum going in the economy, benefitting all the sectors. In India too, transport infrastructure is very critical in the nation’s journey of becoming developed.
Where good physical connectivity featuring national highways, flyovers, underpasses and good roads in the urban areas are important, connectivity between states is absolutely important. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, a government institution for catalyzing economic development says, “Domestic transportation is a key factor for economic growth. Transportation issues and infrastructural delays affect a nation’s progress and India needs much faster and efficient transportation systems.”
Better roads and mobility can directly improve the productivity of citizens and aid in growth. Moreover, it can improve education, jobs, market scenario, private investment scope and income levels.
India indeed has one of the world’s largest and sundry transport sector that faces various challenges. Not only it needs huge investment but also technologies that can save cost, be energy efficient and can focus entirely on the customer.
New India initiatives
India is now waking up to the need for infrastructure and hence, since Modi government has come to power, there has been a great emphasis on it. Not only the budget allocations for infrastructure increased in the last four years but also there have been several announcements that show a new thrust towards building a new India.
In the announcement on infrastructure made in October this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be taking India on its biggest road trip. PM has realized that if his government has to give a boost to economy, investments and create jobs, he has to focus on roads. The government claims to have awarded the contracts for construction of 34,018 km of highways during 2014-17. This is more than double of what was done in 2011-2014. The total length of National Highways in India is now at 1,14,158 km from 91,287 km.
The government announced to develop about 83,677 km of roads by 2022with an investment of Rs 6.92 lakh crore. The ambitious project is expected to push economic activity and generate at least 14.2 crore man-days across the country over the next five years.
If the Modi government is able to accomplish the project successfully, driving through cities, towns and villages would not be the same again. The congested roads will give way to bigger and better road network in India.
Work is underway on some of the expressways, such as Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressway to decongest New Delhi.
In another high-impact plan, the Government has approved the plan to construct1000 km of expressways along high density corridors. These include – Delhi-Meerut (66km), Eastern Peripheral Expressway (135 km), Western Peripheral (135 km),Vadodara-Mumbai Corridor (400 km), Bangalore-Chennai (262 km), Delhi-Jaipur (261 km), Delhi-Chandigarh (249 km), Kolkata-Dhanbad (277 km) and Delhi-Agra (200 km).
Delhi to Bangalore Transporter
Delhi to Mumbai Transporter
Delhi to Ahmedabad Transporter
Delhi to Kolkata Transporter
One of the key highway development initiatives by the government is ‘Bharatmala’. It is an umbrella programme that will subsume National Highways Development Project and focuses on various initiatives, such as developing border and international connectivity roads, economic corridors, inter corridor, feeder routes, national corridors, coastal and port connectivity roads etc.Under this scheme—
- In the first phase, with the investment of Rs 5.35 lakh crore, 24,800 km of highways would be constructed.
- The ministries of road transport and highways will construct 9,000 km of economic corridors across India.
- 6,000 km-long inter corridor and feeder routes will be constructed
- 2,000 km of border and international connectivity roads
- 5,000 km of roads will be upgraded under the national corridor efficiency programme
- 800 km of greenfield expressways will be made
- 10,000 km will be used in the national highway development programme
- 2,000 km of coastal and port connectivity roads will be constructed.
Funding such a huge project can be tasking. The government plans to fund Bharatmala project through various fund channels, such as central road funds, market borrowings, monetising governmentroad assets etc.
Roads imperative for transport
For a road transport company, getting well-maintained roads is a boon. It not only ensures smooth material movement within city and states, but also brings down the transportation cost. Good quality transport infrastructure means people can move from one place to the other rapidly. Logistics services can take the stuff safely. As the transportation cost drops, prices drops subsequently. Trade gets a boost, and the economy flourishes.
When transportation costs come down, they also affect the prices of the commodities and people get the daily needs things at cheaper rates.
Experts believe that this creates ripple effect as when the rates of products are low, people get tempted to spend more. More money entering the market is good, as it boosts liquidity.
In India, the thrust towards infrastructure has indeed come late, but it is picking up fast. India has made significant movement in creating infrastructure not only within but between cities as well. As a result, road transport companies and transport aggregators like Trukky are finding business opportunities in the sector.