What ails India’s road transport economy?

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Road is the life-line of the economy:

Road transport have grown as a prominent system of transportation of goods and people in the country. India has an extensive road network of more than 3.3 million km, making it one of the largest in the world. In spite of this, India has a lot of problem in road transport. About 50 per cent of Indian roads are not in good condition. Therefore, transportation on these roads are not possible in all seasons.

As we know, road transport is of particular advantage to the farmers. Good roads help the farmer to move their product quickly to the mandis and towns. This assumes great importance in the context of green revolution. In absence of good and metalled road, during monsoon season, it is impossible for the villagers to move out of their villages.

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In other hand, the total length of national highway in country is about 58,112 km. It stands about 2 per cent of the total roads and control about 40 per cent of transportation across the country. So, national highways have great load for transportation. It always faces congestion that restricted the fast transportation. Even many of the national highways are in very bad condition.

Road transport has been experiencing very high cost of operation, partly because of heavy and numerous duties and taxes and partly because of bad roads. Bad roads are responsible for accidents, for heavy wear and tear of tires and other parts, high fuel consumption, etc. Bad roads restricted the quick transportation and cause a negative effect on country’s economy.

The government activated the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to implement the policy of privatisation to cut down the procedural delays. NHDP merging the Golden Quadrilateral connecting Delhi-Mumbai-Chennai and Kolkata (5,952km) and the North-South and

East-West corridors. Other initiatives are:

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i. Undertaking feasibility studies and detailed project reports for project costing up to Rs 100 crore can be approved by the minister of Surface Transport. Several other procedures have been simplified.

ii. A range of tax incentives have been announced to help plough in funds from the private sectors.

iii. The measures formulated to encourage private sector participation in the road sector include permission to the NHAI to fund equity in private or public companies. In case of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) project, the government will complensate entrepreneurs according to international norms in those cases where collection of tolls is hampered by either force majeure or policy risks.

iv. To attract private sector investment in the road sector provisions relating to foreign investment have been further liberalised.

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