India has the second-largest road network in the world, spanning a total of 5.89 million kilometres (kms). This road network transports 64.5% of all goods in the country and 90% of India’s total passenger traffic uses road network to commute. Road transportation has gradually increased over the years with improvement in connectivity between cities, towns and villages in the country.
In India, sale of automobiles and movement of freight by roads is growing at a rapid rate.
Highway construction in India increased at 17.00% CAGR between FY16-FY21. Despite pandemic and lockdown, India has constructed 13,298 km of highways in FY21.
In FY21, 13,298 kms of highway was constructed across India. In June 2021, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways constructed 2,284 kms of national highways compared with 1,681 kms in June 2020.
In October 2020, the foundation stone was established for nine National Highway projects—with a total length of ~262 kms—worth >Rs. 2752 crore (US$ 371.13 million) in Tripura.
The Government of India has allocated Rs. 111 lakh crore (US$ 1.4 trillion) under the National Infrastructure Pipeline for FY 2019-25. The roads sector is likely to account for 18% capital expenditure over FY 2019-25.
In October 2020, The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is making progress towards integrating its road and highway portfolio. The NIIF has acquired Essel Devanahalli Tollway and Essel Dichpally Tollway through the NIIF master fund. These road infra-projects will be supported by Athaang Infrastructure, NIIF's proprietary road network, assisted by a team of established professionals with diverse domain expertise in the transport field.
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 the data released by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade Policy (DPIIT), construction development^ sector attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow worth US$ 26.08 billion in the between April 2000 and March 2021.
Some of the recent Government initiatives are as follows:
- In August 2021, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways constructed national highways extending 3,335 kms compared with 3,322 kms in August 2020.
- To transform road infrastructure in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, the Indian government has planned to construct roads extending 313 kms for Rs. 11,000 crore (US$ 1.48 billion).
- In September 2021, the Indian government announced road projects worth Rs. 1 lakh crore (US$ 13.48 billion) to develop road infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir. The region has also witnessed growth in national highways, from 7 in 2014 to 11 in 2021.
- In September 2021, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways allocated Rs. 7,270 crore (US$ 980.9 million) for road safety programmes in 14 states that constitute 85% of the total road fatalities in India.
- Under Phase-I of Bharatmala Pariyojana, the Ministry has approved implementation of 34,800 km of national highways in 5 years with an outlay of Rs. 5,35,000 crore (US$ 76.55 billion). Under this scheme, 22 greenfield projects (8,000 kms length) are being constructed; this is worth Rs. 3.26 lakh crore (US$ 43.94 billion).
- The government also aims to construct 23 new national highways by 2025.
- The Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, is targeting to construct 40 kms per day in FY22.
- In August 2021, Union Minister of Road Transport Highways, Mr. Nitin Gadkari announced to launch 1,080-km (road construction) projects worth Rs. 25,370 crore (US$ 3.4 billion) in Gujarat under the Bharatmala Pariyojana—the ambitious road and highways project that aims to build highways from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and then cover the entire string of Himalayan territories.
- In August 2021, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways extended certain relief measures provided earlier in view of the second COVID-19 wave. The following relief measures have been extended:
- Relaxation in Schedule H/G with effect from July 01, 2021, until September 30, 2021, to improve liquidity of funds available with contractors and concessionaire.
- Arrangement regarding direct payment to the approved sub-contractor through an escrow account can be continued until September 30, 2021, or completion of work by the sub-contractor, whichever is earlier.
- In August 2021, Union Minister of Road Transport Highways, Mr. Nitin Gadkari sanctioned Rs. 100 crore (US$ 13 million) to restore roads affected by heavy rains in Konkan and Western Maharashtra. This includes Rs. 52 crore (US$ 7.0 million) for temporary restoration and Rs. 48 crore (US$ 6 million) for permanent restoration.
- In August 2021, the central government sanctioned >Rs. 600 crore (US$ 81 million), of the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF), for construction of 42 roads and bridges in Uttarakhand.
- In July 2021, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways allocated Rs. 165 crore (US$ 22 million) under Economic Importance and Inter State Connectivity Scheme (EIC&ISC) for FY22.
- In July 2021, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways granted 162 kms road highway (New NH-365BG), as part of the economic corridor under the Bharatmala Pariyojana, with an aim to connect Andhra Pradesh and Telangana via a robust road infrastructure that supports speed of 100kms/hour. The total project cost is Rs. 2,600 crore (US$ 350 million).
- In July 2021, Andhra Pradesh spent US$ 296.05 million to build 8,970 kms of roads.
- In April 2021, the NHAI has decided to deploy Network Survey Vehicle (NSV) to enhance quality of the national highways. Carrying out road condition survey using NSV on the national highways was made mandatory for certifying completion of the project and every six months thereafter.
- In March 2021, the Mizoram-Myanmar road project, which was launched under SARDP-NE, completed 92% work and is scheduled to be completed by June 2021.
- Under the Union Budget 2021-22, the Government of India has allocated Rs. 108,230 crore (US$ 14.85 billion) to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
- The NHAI awarded 1,330 km of highways in the first half of FY21, which was 1.6x of the total awards in FY20 and 3.5x of the FY19-levels. NHAI, the nodal authority for building highways across the country, has set a target of awarding 4,500km of projects in FY21. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is expected to award projects worth ~Rs. 2.25 lakh crore (US$ 30.3 billion) with a total length of ~5,000 kms in FY22.
- In February 2021, The Minister for MSMEs and Road Transport & Highways Mr. Nitin Gadkari approved construction of the 158-kms ring road worth Rs 10,000 crore (US$ 1.37) in Telangana.
- In January 2021, the Government of India and New Development Bank (NDB) signed two loan agreements for US$ 646 million for upgrading the state highway network and district road network in Andhra Pradesh.
- In December 2020, the MoRTH proposed to develop additional 60,000 kms of national highways (in the next five years), of which 2,500 kms are expressways/access controlled highways, 9,000 kms are economic corridors, 2,000 kms are coastal and port connectivity highways and 2,000 kms are border road/strategic highways. The ministry also intends to improve connectivity for 100 tourist destinations and construct bypasses for 45 towns/cities.
- In December 2020, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways inaugurated the three lane 1.5 km long Koilwar bridge over Sone river in Bihar.
- In December 2020, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Mr. Nitin Gadkari laid foundation stones for 15 National Highways projects with a total length of 266 km, worth Rs. 4,127 crore (US$ 560.88 million) in Nagaland.
- In December 2020, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Federal Ministry of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology of the Republic of Austria on technology cooperation in the road infrastructure sector.
The Government, through a series of initiatives, is working on policies to attract significant investor interest. A total of 200,000 km of national highways is expected to be completed by 2022.
In the next five years, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will be able to generate Rs. 1 lakh crore (US$ 14.30 billion) annually from toll and other sources.
Note: Conversion rate used for August 2021 is Rs. 1 = US$ 0.01347
References: Media Reports, Press Releases, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, NHAI website, Press Information Bureau (PIB)
Notes: ^FDI in construction development Includes: Townships, housing, built-up infrastructure and construction-development projects
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.