Highway Construction Boost: Vision 2047’s Mega Plan on the Horizon

India is set to embark on a massive infrastructure development project that aims to build 50,000 km of high-speed access-controlled corridors by 2047. This ambitious plan is part of the government’s vision to transform India into a developed economy with a GDP of approximately USD 30 trillion by 2047 . The plan also includes the second phase of the Bharatmala Pariyojana, which will construct around 5,000 km of fenced-off highways with an investment of INR 3 trillion. The project will cover all the states and union territories of India, with special emphasis on the North-Eastern and Himalayan regions.

Enhancing Connectivity and Efficiency

The completion of these high-speed corridors will significantly improve the connectivity and efficiency of the transportation network in India, reducing travel time and logistics costs for both passengers and freight. The average travel speed of trucks on the National Highway network is expected to increase from 45 kmph to 75-80 kmph once the corridors are operational. The high-speed corridors will also connect existing road infrastructure and industrial corridors, boosting economic growth and development. The Bharatmala Pariyojana will further enhance the connectivity by interconnecting 550 district headquarters (from current 300) through a minimum 4-lane highway. According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, India’s road network is the second largest in the world, with a total length of 6.37 million km, of which only 2% are national highways carrying 40% of road traffic. As per the Basic Road Statistics of India 2018-19, India had a road density of 1.91 km per sq. km and 5.18 km per thousand population. As per the World Bank data, India’s road density was higher than the world average of 0.66 km per sq. km and lower than China’s 0.77 km per sq. km in 2018.

Progress and Vision

In 2014, India had only 353 km of high-speed corridors, which has since grown to 3,913 km in 2023. The road transport and highways secretary, Anurag Jain, highlighted the government’s vision to further expand the network to 50,000 km by 2047. This vision is part of a larger plan to transform India into a developed economy with a GDP of approximately USD 30 trillion by 2047 . The Bharatmala Pariyojana was launched in 2017 with the approval of its first phase, which involved constructing 34,800 km of highways. The second phase is expected to be approved later this year. The government has set an unprecedented target of constructing 13,800 km of highways in the fiscal year 2023-24. In the fiscal year 2020-21, India achieved its highest ever construction of highways at a rate of 37 km per day. According to IBEF, India ranked second in terms of road network length among BRICS nations as of December 2020.

Streamlined Project Implementation

To ensure efficient implementation and minimize overlap, the awarding of projects will be aligned with Vision 2047. This approach aims to streamline the project development process, avoid duplication of efforts, and enhance overall project execution. The government is hopeful that specific projects within the plan will be separately endorsed by the cabinet, preceding the green light for full-scale implementation. The Bharatmala Pariyojana will also follow a similar strategy to avoid any conflict or delay in project delivery. The government has allocated a record INR 2.7 trillion for the development and maintenance of national highways in the current fiscal year.

Other Infrastructure Initiatives

In addition to the high-speed corridors and Bharatmala Pariyojana, the government is also focusing on improving port connectivity and developing ropeway projects. Out of 108 port connectivity road projects totaling 3,700 km, eight projects covering 294 km have been completed, 28 projects covering 1,808 km have been awarded, and detailed project reports for 72 projects covering 1,595 km are in progress. Under the Parvatmala Pariyojana, the government plans to award 60-km ropeway projects by the end of the current fiscal year. The government has also achieved success in monetizing road assets through the Toll-Operate-Transfer (TOT) model, raising Rs 26,366 crore since its launch in 2018.

The government’s ambitious plan to build 50,000 km of high-speed corridors by 2047 represents a transformative step towards modernizing India’s infrastructure and improving transportation efficiency.



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