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road term paper

road term paper

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Published by Hari Binani

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Published by: Hari Binani on Mar 22, 2011
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1. INTRODUCTION
India is a vast country with a land area of 3,287,240
 
sq Km, a population of 115 croresliving in 638,365 villages and 5169
 
towns and cities, where the primary mode of physicalconnectivity is road transport. Road infrastructure anchors the economy and the societyby allowing human movement as well as production and exchange of goods and services.The role and importance of infrastructure for an economy is like that of the foundation toa building and the level of infrastructure availability is one of the key indices of the levelof economic development and quality of life of the citizens of a country. Infrastructure ingeneral and road infrastructure in particular plays a pivotal role in promoting economicgrowth and making this growth more inclusive by sharing the benefits of growth withpoorer groups and communities, particularly in remote and isolated areas, by facilitatingtheir access to basic services and by helping in increasing their income generatingcapacity.At the time of independence, the national government was unanimous in accepting that amuch wider base of infrastructure was necessary for economic development of thiscountry. The successive plans were formulated on such lines that the infrastructuralsectors claimed the lion’s share of the plan outlays and actual expenditures. If thefirst ten five-year plans and the annual plans are considered together, the TotalAllocated Spending has been Rs. 33954 Billion, of which the infrastructural sectorsaccounted for Rs. 22452 Billion, i.e. more than 66% of the total allocation. Since 1991-92, a number of wide-ranging reforms have been carried out in the infrastructure sector covering roads and highways development, civil aviation, telecommunications. It has beenbecause of such paramount importance being attached to the development of theinfrastructure in our economic planning that long strides have been made in thephysical availability of such facilities in India.This dissertation seeks to examine the importance of the development of roads in relationto the growth and development of the Indian economy. The importance of the road sector,the classification of roads, the statutes and institutional structure, the allocation to theroad sector under the various Five-Year plans, the problems faced by the road sector, therecent developments and the future scope and importance of the road sector is discussedherein.1
 
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
IMPORTANCE OF THE ROAD SECTOR 
As pewww.
(1)
, the Indianeconomy is booming, with rates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth exceeding 8%every year since 2003/04. This ongoing growth is due to rapidly developing services andmanufacturing sectors, increasing consumer demand (largely driven by increasedspending by India’s middle class) and government commitments to rejuvenate theagricultural sector and improve the economic conditions of India’s rural population. Inthe fiscal year ending March 2008, India’s GDP grew by more than 9%. This robust rateof expansion was initially forecast to continue in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, but the onsetof global recession and its cascading effect slowed down the growth rate to 6.5% to 7%,but that appears to be a short-run phenomenon. According towww.morth.nic.in/
(2)
, evenin the face of such a recession, the Government has singled out infrastructure investmentas particularly vital to facilitate a turnaround and accelerate the growth process. Indeed,even with a somewhat slower rate of growth, the Indian economy is still expandingsignificantly, and substantial investment in the infrastructure sector continues to hold thekey to sustaining India’s economic progress. The country’s capacity to absorb and benefitfrom new technology and industries depends on the availability, quality and efficiency of basic forms of infrastructure.The Tenth Five Year Planhttp://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/10th/volume2/v2_ch8_3.pdf  
(3)
brings out the importance of roads as follows, “Roads are the key to the development of an economy. A good road network constitutes the basic infrastructure that propels thedevelopment process through connectivity and opening up the backward regions to tradeand investment. Roads also play a key role in inter-modal transport development,establishing links with airports, railway stations and ports. In addition, they have animportant role in promoting national integration, which is particularly important in alarge country like India”.As per present estimates, the road network carries nearly 65% of freight and 85% of passenger traffic.As per Indian Economy (Dutt and Sundaram) the Seventh Plan
(4)
, the importance of roads is as follows: “Since the country’s economy is still largely agrarian in character andthe settlement pattern is rural-oriented, roads constitute a critical element of thetransportation infrastructure. Road construction and maintenance generate sizeableemployment opportunities, a factor that has assumed considerable importance withdemographic expansion and the growth of the labour force. Better roads also achieve fueleconomy and improve the overall productivity of the road transport sector.”Roads are a necessary complement to railways. India is a country of villages and onlyroads can connect villages, Railways can connect towns. Road transport is quick,2
 
convenient and flexible for short distance travel as well as movement of goods. Roadstransport is of particular advantage to the farmers since good roads help farmers to movetheir produce, particularly the perishable products quickly to mandis and towns as well asthe nearest railway station to market their products. During the monsoon season, it maybe impossible for the villagers to move out of their village unless there are good roads.Roads are also highly significant for the defence of the country in order to move troopsquickly from one place to another in times of emergency.While speaking about the advantages of roads, the Manasi Committee emphasized,“Speed is of vital importance in a developing economy and this is where roads will play afar greater role than at any time in the past and will have to be developed on a large scale.Road development is all the more important because of the difficulty of railways to meetthe growing transport needs of a developing economy.”
CLASSIFICATION OF ROADS
(5)
, India has a largeroad network of over 3.314 millionkilometersof roadways, making itthe second largest  road network in the world. For the purpose of management and administration, roads inIndia are divided into the following five categories:
National Highways (NH) 
: These are main highways running through the length andbreadth of the country connecting major ports, state capitals, large industrial andtourist centres, etc. National Highways in India are designated as NH followed by thehighway number. The National Highway system is the primary road grid and is thedirect responsibility of the Central Governemnt. The National Highways are intendedto facilitate medium and long distance inter-city passenger and freight traffic acrossthe country.The traffic on National Highways has been growing due to the recent economicgrowth in India and the Government of India is taking steps to improve managementtechniques to provide hindrance-free traffic movement by way of widening roads,grade separation, construction of bypasses, bridges, rail-road crossings, and utilizingthe latest technologies.Even though the National Highways represent only 2% of the total network length,they handle about 40% of the total road traffic. As per the Urban Land Institute's
Infrastructure 2008: A competitive advantage
report, "more than 90% of India's40,625 miles (65,000 km) of national highways are single or two-lane roads.The National Highways are further classified based on the width of carriageway of the Highway. Generally, in case of a single lane, the lane width is of 3.75 meters,while in case of multi-lane National Highways, each of the lanes have a width of 3.5meters. As of February 2008, out of the total length, 14% have four or morelanesand3

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