The development of road infrastructure in India is witnessing great momentum. Robust demand, higher investments, attractive opportunities and policy support changed the face of the road sector in the country within three years.
The Indian road network is the second largest in the world at 5.4 million km and with rapid growth in national and state highways, it is bound to grow exponentially.
Road infrastructure is one of the major priorities for the Indian government as the roads carry more than 60% of all goods and 85% cent of total passenger traffic.
The government assessed the increasing road traffic and to boost the infrastructure, it allocated $10.13 billion for development of national highways in its budget FY 17-18.
The Road, Transport and Shipping Ministry led by Nitin Gadkari catered to the rising demand and came out with various schemes, policies and business-friendly strategies to further develop the road sector.
The government has already fast-tracked at least 24 roads and highways projects and is under planning to approve nearly 10,000kms of national highway. Moreover, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) plans to build 50,000 km of roads worth $250 billion by 2022 as part of a long-term goal of doubling the length of the national highway network to two lakh kilometres.
In a bid to fulfill the ambitious goal, the target pace of road construction has been increased to 23km a day, making way for greater connectivity in no time.
The government is implementing various projects across the length and breadth of the country to solve woes of the common man. The ministry has introduced notable trends that will make India number 1 in road infrastructure in the coming times.
Here are some trends that are ensuring seamless travel, better infrastructure and connectivity:
Electronic toll collection: The NHAI is taking steps such as facilitating Online sale of FASTags and offline sale through Common ServicesCentre (CSC) near toll plazas, to ensure availability of FASTags for Electronic Toll Collection
Different models: The type of PPP models used in road projects are Build Operate Transfer (BOT) toll and BOT annuity. During the next five years, investment through PPP is expected to be $31 billion.
FDI in roads: Cumulative FDI inflows into the construction development sector, including roads and highways, stood at $24.54 billion till June 2017. This is expected to grow as the ministry has come out with business-friendly initiatives.
Infrastructure initiatives: Programmes such as ‘Bharat Nirman’, JNNURM are designed to pursue nation-wide rural connectivity, linking all the unconnected villages with fair weather roads.
Tax sops: Companies enjoy 100% tax exemption in road projects for five years and 30% relief over the next five years. Companies have been granted a capital of up to 40% of the total project cost to enhance viability.
Recently, Gadkari said his ministry would make transport world-class in two years and with these strategic steps, the minister will surely walk the talk.