The Indian Roads Congress (IRC) is the premier technical body of Highway Engineers in the country. The IRC was set up in December, 1934 on the recommendations of the Indian Road Development Committee best known as Jayakar Committee set up by the Govt. of India with the objective of Road Development in India. As the activities of the IRC expanded, it was formally registered as a Society in 1937 under the Societies Registration Act of 1860. Over the years Congress has burgeoned and grown into a multi -dimensional many faceted organisation, devoted to the cause of better roads & better bridges in the country.
The Congress provides a National forum for sharing of knowledge and pooling of experience on the entire range of subjects dealing with the construction & maintenance of roads and bridges, including technology, equipment, research, planning, finance, taxation, organisation and all connected policy issues. In more specific terms the objectives of the Congress are:
- To promote and encourage the science and practice of building and maintenance of roads;
- To provide a channel for the expression of collective opinion of its members regarding roads;
- To promote the use of standard specifications and to propose specifications;
- To advise regarding education, experiment and research connected with roads;
- To hold periodical meetings, to discuss technical questions regarding roads;
- To suggest legislation for the development, improvement and protection of roads;
- To suggest improved methods of administration, planning design, construction, operation, use and maintenance of roads;
- To establish, furnish and maintain libraries and museums for furthering the science of road making;
- To publish, or arrange for the publication of proceedings, journals, periodicals and other literature for the promotion of the objects of the Society;
- To accept subscriptions, subsidies, donations, endowments and gifts in furtherance of the objects of the Society;
- To invest and deal with the funds of the Society or entrusted to the Society, to acquire and hold any movable or immovable property, and to borrow or raise money for the furtherance of the objects of the Society and to sell, lease, exchange, or otherwise deal with the same;
- To grant pay, prizes, honoraria, or scholarships (including traveling scholarships) for meritorious work in furtherance of the objects of the Society;
- To do all such other lawful things as may be, incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objects;
Income and Property: The income and property of the Society, whensoever and howsoever derived, shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the objects of the Society as herein set forth and no portion thereof shall be paid, or transferred or distributed, directly, by way of dividend, bonus, interest, or otherwise howsoever, by way of profit to the members of the Society; Provided that this shall not prevent the payment in good faith of remuneration to any officer or servant of the Society or other persons in return for services rendered. The Congress has relentlessly strived to achieve these objectives and full fill its charter.
The India Roads Congress (IRC) is the oldest and most important representative technical body of highway engineers in India. The growth of highway engineering as a profession owes much to the IRC which has completed seventy three years of its existence. It can be claimed that the development of roads in the country has been significantly influenced by the wise counsels given by the IRC and has progressed according to the policies enunciated by it.
The origin of the IRC can be traced back to the Indian Road Development committee (the Jayakar Committee) appointed by the Government of India in November, 1927. One of the recommendations of this committee was that road conferences should be held periodically to discuss among other things, questions relating to road construction and maintenance. The Central Government, after consulting the state Governments, convened an inaugural meeting of highway engineers at New Delhi in December, 1934. This meeting was attended by 73 Engineers from all parts of the then India. This marked the birth of the Indian Roads Congress. When the activities of the IRC expanded, it was registered as a society in 1937 under the Societies Registration Act of 1860. Starting with a modest membership of 73 in 1934, the IRC has now about 13,500 members comprising of engineers of all ranks from Central and State Governments, Engineering Services of Army, Border Roads Organization, Road Research Institutes, Engineering Colleges, Local Bodies and private enterprises.
The IRC provides a National forum for sharing of knowledge and pooling of experience on the entire range of subjects dealing with the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, including technology, equipment, research, planning, finance, taxation, organization and all connected policy issues. In more specific terms, the objectives of the IRC are:
- to promote and encourage the science and practice of building, operation and maintenance of roads.
- to provide a channel for the expression of collective opinion of its members regarding roads.
- to promote the use of standard specifications and to propose specifications.
- to advise regarding education, experiment and research connected with roads.
- to hold periodical meetings to discuss technical questions regarding roads and thus disseminate technical knowledge of experiences amongst highway engineers
- to suggest legislation for the development, improvement and protections of roads.
- to suggest improved methods of administration, planning, design, construction, operation, use and maintenance of roads.
- to establish, furnish and maintain libraries and museums for furthering the science of road making.
- to publish, or arrange for the publication of proceedings, journals, periodicals, and other literature for the promotion of the objectives of the IRC
The IRC has relentlessly strived to achieve these objectives and fulfill its charter.
Before the birth of Indian Roads Congress there were no generally accepted bridge standard, specifications, codes of practice or road standards of any kind. There was no forum in India for discussion of road engineering problems. There was no organised method of co-relating experimental and testing work carried out in various States. No mechanism was therefore disseminating the results of road research nor any mean by which the Central and State Governments could obtain the collective opinion of road engineers in the country.The Indian Roads Congress has largely fulfilled these needs.
The following is a glimpse of its multi-faceted activities:
- Conceptualisation and formulation of the Road Development Plans in the country.So far 4 historic documents have been prepared which have laid the foundation for the growth and development of road and road transport in the country over the last 60 years.They are:
- Nagpur Plan (1941-61)
- Bombay Plan (1961-1981)
- Road Development Plan (1981-2001)
- Road Development Plan (2001-2021):Vision 2021
- Publication of Standards relating to roads, viz. survey, investigation, equipment, design, construction, environment, maintenance, geometrics, safety, road signage & technology.
- Publication of Standards, Specification and Codes of Practice on Bridges and also Guidelines for their inspection, maintenance, testing and rating.
- Publication of Standards Plans and specifications of Ministry of Surface Transport (now Ministry of Road Transport & Highways).
- Holding Annual Sessions, mid-term Council Meetings in order to discuss the road problems and to take policy decisions.
- Convening meeting of Chief Engineers and Engineers-in-Chiefs of the country dealing with roads and to discuss and resolve the problems of baffling the road sector and to monitor and review the progress of the urgent programmes; Co-ordination of road research across the length and breadth of the country and publishing research bulletins highway research bulletins and highway research records.
- Publication of technical Papers on various aspects of road and bridge development which are discussed at the Annual Sessions.
- Publication of state-of-the-Art-reports on important topics. These reports are treasures of information on the subject they deal with.
- Holding National and International Seminars and Workshops on topical subjects.
- Organising debate in the form of Panel Discussion on various aspects of Highway Engineering.
- Inter-acting with the Ministry of RT&H, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Science and Technology and other nodal ministries in the Govt. of India on policy issues.
- Liaison with other Institutions and professional bodies like Bureau of Indian Standards, Central Road Research Institute, National Highways Authority of india, National Institute for Training of Highway Engineers,Indian Geotechnical Society, International Road Federation(IRF),Permanent International Association of Road Congresses(PIARC) and International Labour Organisation(ILO).