Updated February 4th, 2024 at 08:48 IST
Centre Plans to Construct 13,000km Roads to Meet Its 94% Goal for FY24
A single-lane road allows two-way travel but is not wide enough in most places for vehicles to pass each other.
New Delhi: The Indian government is now working towards constructing about 13,000 kilometres of national highways by the end of March. This is being done in a bid so that the Modi government could achieve 94 percent of its target for the fiscal year 2024. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had an initial aim of building 13,814 km in this period. In the previous fiscal year, FY23, the government completed around 10,331 km of highways,below the initial target of 12,500 km that it had previously claimed.
MoRTH Secretary Anurag Jain had shown confidence in awarding highway projects worth ₹10,000 crore by the end of March. Jain also stated to an English daily that there are plans about converting all single-lane roads into two-lane national highways by 2028. The percentage of less-than-two-lane national highways decreased from 30 percent in 2014 to 10 percent in 2023.
A single-lane road allows two-way travel but is not wide enough in most places for vehicles to pass each other. These kinds of roads are common in rural areas of the country.
In the recently announced interim budget, the government allocated Rs 2.78 trillion for MoRTH for the fiscal year 2025, a slight increase from the budget estimate of Rs 2.7 trillion in FY24. Compared to the revised estimate of Rs 2.76 trillion, this allocation represents only 0.5 percent hike. The government, as per the projections, has planned to focus on ‘rapid’ infrastructure growth for the next financial year, which is FY25, with plans to increase capital expenditure for MoRTH and hence speeding up road construction and completing projects under Bharatmala I.
Growth in National Highway Network
India, as of 2024, has the world's second-largest road network, which is approximately 66.71 lakh km long. National highways cover 1,46,145 km, state highways stretch across 1,79,535 km, and other roads like district roads and single-lane roads make up 63,45,403 km. National highways play a very important role in the country's economic and social development by enabling the movement of goods and passengers and improving market access.
The national highway network in recent years has seen growth too. The network increased by 60 percent, from 91,287 km in 2014 to 1,46,145 km in 2023. The length of 4 lanes and above national highways also grew, from 18,387 km in 2014 to 46,179 km in November 2023.
Highway construction rates have varied in recent years. Before the pandemic in FY20, 10,237 km were constructed at a daily rate of 28.04 km. During the first pandemic year (FY21), the lockdown accelerated construction, resulting in a record 13,327 km of highways built at 36.51 km per day. In FY22, the rate slowed to 10,457 km at 28.64 km per day, and the road ministry revised its goal from 14,600 km to 12,000 km. FY23 concluded with an average construction rate of 28.3 km per day and a total of 10,331 km of highways built.
Published February 4th, 2024 at 08:14 IST
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