Indian road network is the second largest in the world with a total length of 4.1 million kilometres (km). As per present estimate given by the highways regulator, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Indian roads carry about 65 per cent of freight and 80 per cent of passenger traffic.
National Highways (NH) constitute 1.7 per cent of the entire network but carry 40 per cent of the traffic on Indian roads. To augment it, the Government plans to build 7,300 km of roads every year.
The Government of India awarded projects for construction of 7,900 km of highways in 2011-12 while Dr Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, has set a target to build 9,500 km of national highways in 2012-13.
Key Developments and Investments
Foreign direct investment (FDI) received in construction activities (including roads and highways) during April-July 2012-13 stood at US$ 21,160 million, according to statistics released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
- The Yamuna Expressway, a 165-km six-lane expressway, has recently been opened to traffic. The stretch has been built in order to reduce the travel time between Delhi and Agra by almost half.
- The Government of India has recently given its nod to various projects under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for construction of 9,070 km of roads in rural Bihar, at a projected cost of US$ 614.12 million.
- Reliance Infrastructure Limited has started working on its sixth project involving four laning of Gurgaon - Faridabad and two laning of Ballabhgarh - Sohna road. The Rs 800 crore (US$ 151.36 million) project is being executed though the company's special purpose vehicle (SPV).
- India has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Austria for strengthening bi-lateral relations and co-operation on road infrastructure projects and road transportation technology. Further, Malaysia's State investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd has formed a SPV with an Indian infrastructure development company by infusing equity of Rs 8.3 billion (US$ 157.03 million) to fund national highways construction projects in India.