India has one of the largest road networks in the world, spanning a total of 5.6 million kilometres (kms). Roads in India transport over 60 per cent of all goods and 85 per cent of total passenger traffic.
The Government of India has formulated a seven-phase programme, ‘National Highway Development Project (NHDP)’, vested with National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), for the development of National Highways in the country.
The private sector has emerged as a key player in the development of road infrastructure in India. Increased industrial activities, along with increasing number of two and four wheelers have supported the growth in the road transport infrastructure projects. The government’s policy to increase private sector participation has proved to be a boon for the infrastructure industry with a large number of private players entering the business through the public-private partnership (PPP) model.
The planned outlay under the Union Budget 2018-19 for the road sector is Rs 1.21 lakh crore (US$ 18.69 billion). Moreover, Rs 71,000 crore (US$ 10.97 billion) have been allocated specifically for the development for the national highways in the country.
With the Government permitting 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the road sector, several foreign companies have formed partnerships with Indian players to capitalise on the sector's growth.
The Government of India has succeeded in providing road connectivity to 85 per cent of the 178,184 eligible rural habitations in the country under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). Total length of roads constructed under Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana in 2017-18 was 47447 km. All villages in the country are expected to be connected through a road network by 2019, as against 2022 previously, under the PMGSY.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways intends to take the total of projects awarded in FY 2017-18 to 20,000 km and targets to award projects of 25,000 km in FY 2018-19.