Under Indian transport infrastructure, we have to deal with roads, railways,
ports and aviation. Each one demands lot of time but we shall look into each of
these modes of transport briefly particularly with a focus on the
infrastructure of these areas of transport.
We have to understand that infrastructure plays a critical role in the
economy of a nation. Better the
infrastructure, greater is the possibility of the country’s economy growing to
higher levels. We will deal with the
infrastructure primarily in terms of its impact on the economy of the country.
Perhaps you may be aware that the present Modi-led government has
always been saying that reducing the logistics cost of the country to around 8%
of GDP from the current 18%. The deep implications of this goal are too complex
and to go into them may require hundreds of sessions; this will take us into a
totally different field. Just to keep in mind one very significant fact: the
logistics cost in advanced economies like US the logistics cost of the country
is said to be around 6-8 percent of GDP while in developing countries like
India it is as high as 18 percent. We will go into it rather a little deep
later when we have seen something of each infrastructure, that is, road, rail,
air and water. Now to Roads.
India in fact has a largest road network with a total of 5.5 million
km. Almost 65 percent of all the goods,
it is said, is transported by the roads; as for the passenger traffic, they say
it is about 90% of total passenger traffic.
Nowadays, industrialists and economies analysts have begun to urge the
government for better connectivity by roads. All villages must be connected by
roads to cities; rural development is being talked about much. The growth of a
country’s economy depends on the effective connectivity with all cities and
villages. But it is pointed out that the road infrastructure is not sufficient
for the commercial requirement. And the experts point out that the slow growth
of economy is due to inadequate road connectivity between villages and cities,
so on. The government is said to take
all steps to improve road infrastructure.
Improving road infrastructure has another great advantage; it creates
job opportunities as construction of roads is a labour intensive area.
Indian roads are generally classified into four categories: National
Highways, State Highways, District Roads and Village Roads; that is, we move
from the biggest, largest to smallest.
In our next session, we shall begin with the categories of roads.