In 1950-51, road network i.e., total length of roads was of about four lakh km. Out of it, 19.8 thousand km was national highway. During 1999-00, total length of road increased to 1998.2 thousand km and 2526.0 thousand km in 1999-00.

However, national highway was 52.0 thousand km in 1999-00. The length of state highway was around 137.9 thousand km in 1998-99 against 56.8 thousand km in 1970-71.

The number of registered vehicles was 306.0 thousand in 1950-51, 21374.0 thousand in 1990-91 and 48393.0 thousand in 1997-00. Out of it, number of good vehicles was 2681.0 thousand and buses was of 559.0 thousand in 1999-00 against 82.0 thousand and 34.0 thousand respectively in 1950-51.

Regarding revenue, it was hardly Rs. 34.8 crore for central and Rs. 12.6 crore for states in 1950-51 which increased to Rs. 20952.5 crore for centre and Rs. 12980.5 crore for states during 1999-00.


The road network comprises of national highways, state highways, district roads, rural roads and special purpose roads for military and ports etc. National highways are the prime arterial routes throughout the country. It caters the need of about 45 per cent of total road transport demand.

Recently, a key innovation has been created of major new source of funding for National, State and rural roads. It has been named Central Road Fund (CRF). Moreover, National Highway Development Project (NHDP) has been set up for the expansion of roads.