Road Transport Scenario in India

About 60 per cent of freight and 87 per cent passenger traffic is carried by road. Although National Highways constitute only about 2 per cent of the road network, it carries 40 per cent of the total road traffic. Easy availability, adaptability to individual needs and cost savings are some of the factors which go in favour of road transport.  Road transport also acts as a feeder service to railway, shipping and air traffic.  The number of vehicles has been growing at an average pace of around 10 per cent per annum.  The share of road traffic in total traffic has grown from 13.8 per cent of freight traffic and 15.4 per cent of passenger traffic in 1950-51 to an estimated 62.9 per cent of freight traffic and 90.2 per cent of passenger traffic by the end of 2009-10.  The rapid expansion and strengthening of the road network, therefore, is imperative, to provide for both present and future traffic and for improved accessibility to the hinterland.  In addition, road transport needs to be regulated for better energy efficiency; less pollution and enhanced road safety. The Ministry also recognizes the need for improving the country’s road safety scenario.  There are four aspects of road safety, viz. Engineering, Enforcement, Education and Emergency care which are also known as four Es of Road Safety.  Necessary actions on these aspects are being taken in consultation with States /UTs and organizations under MORTH.


The National Highways have a total length of 79,243 km to serve as the arterial network of the country. The development of National Highways is the responsibility of the Government of India. The Government of India has launched major initiatives to upgrade and strengthen National Highways through various phases of National Highways Development project (NHDP).


Improvement of road connectivity in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas: Government has approved a scheme for development of about 1,126 km of National Highways (NH) and 4,351 km of State Roads in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas as a special project, estimated to cost about Rs. 7,300 crore. During the calendar year 2012, works in a length of 701 km costing Rs 1411 crore have been awarded and 1080 km length have been completed upto November, 2012.

Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North-East region (SARDP-NE): The scheme has been envisaged to be taken up under three parts /phases.


Consequent upon Government’s decision to implement Electronic Toll Collection [ETC] on National Highways a pilot project on ETC is inaugurated on section of NH-5 at Delhi to Parwanoo on 19/4/2012. The concessionaires have been requested to work out necessary modalities among themselves and the ETC solution providers/Banks for setting up of Central Clearing House for the pilot project without any cost implication to MoRT&H/NHAI. Few more stretches were also selected for ETC implementation at initial stage. They are Mumbai -Ahmedabad, Chennai- Bangalore and Gurgaon – Jaipur – Biawar. NHAI is asked to explore the possibility of executing supplementary agreement with concessionaires for implementing ETC especially in view of the fact that receipt of user fee deposited earlier in an escrow account directly by the concessionaire whereas with implementation of ETC part of the amount collected will be routed through Central Clearing House. Funds are being sought in BE 2013-14 for implementing ETC departmentally on fifty Toll Plazas on public funded projects. Necessary order is already issued to incorporate ETC Centres as a mandatory clause in the contracts awarded for all the Highways projects in future. For implementing ETC on Pan India basis, NHAI is incorporating a new Company under company’s act 1956,  with equity participation from NHAI (25%), Concessionaires (50%) and Financial Institutions (25%). Name of the proposed new Company has been approved by the ROC, Ministry of Corporate Affairs as “Indian Highways Management Company Limited”.

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The objectives of the proposed new Company are collection of toll through Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) and to manage the project strategically, administratively, legally, technically, commercially and to provide services of central ETC system which includes toll transaction clearing house operations, helpdesk support and setting up of call centres for Incident Management, Road Intelligent Transport Systems among others. Process for amending the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 for fitment of RFID tag on vehicles for ETC is initiated.


Presently, maintenance of stretches implemented through public funds is being done separately through short term Operation and Maintenance Contracts funded from budgetary resources. User fee is being collected through different agencies on annual contract basis. It consumes considerable time in change of maintenance or toll contracts. The proposal is to undertake all sections of Highways on OMT basis for their Operation and Maintenance, whether publicly funded or under PPP mode with private funds, whose concession period have expired and which are not likely to qualify for further lane up gradation. Under the OMT basis of PPP, the operation and maintenance of roads is outsourced to a private entity for a definite time period (4 to 9 years). The Cabinet note for OMT has been approved by the CCI in its meeting held on 17.08.2012. It is proposed to award approximately 2998 kms of length under OMT during 2012-13, to ensure the robust maintenance of road assets.


As part of the National  e-Governance Programme, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has taken up a Mission Mode Project which aims at computerization of all the RTOs/DTOs across the country, their inter-connectivity as well as establishment of State and National Register of motor vehicles. 100% connectivity has been achieved in 32 States/UTs and 966 RTOs are connected. Vehicles on the Vahan register crossed the 100 million mark on the 5th November, 2012. State Transport Departments officials as well as enforcement authorities have been provided access to the data on the National Register to facilitate instant verification of all DLs/RCs which have been digitized by sending SMS from their registered mobile number. At present, VAHAN (for Registration Certificate) and SARATHI (for Driving License) operation in 33 States/UTs. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways launched the national Register, and released the National Transport Portal in July, 2011.  It also inaugurated the smart for Driving License and Registration Certificate designed by National Institute of Design. The ‘Vahan’ vehicle registration and permit system was awarded the “Platinum Icon- Web Ratna Award 2012” for the best citizen centric service.

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In order to facilitate inter-state movement of goods carriages, a new national permit system has been implemented in all States/Union Territories with effect from 08.05.2010. As per the new arrangement, national permit can be granted by the home State on payment of Rs. 1,000/- as home State authorization fee and Rs. 16,500/- per annum per truck towards consolidated fee authorizing the permit holder to operate throughout the country. The consolidated national permit fee is being distributed among the States/Union Territories on the basis of an agreed formula. Monthly share to States up to October, 2012 have been distributed among States/UTs on pro rata basis.


Road safety is a health, development as well as a complex issue of concern, considering its magnitude and gravity and the consequent negative impacts on the economy, public health and the general welfare of the people, particularly those with low income. The safety of road users is primarily the responsibility of the concerned State Government.  However, this Ministry has taken several steps during the year to improve road safety for road users which are as under:

Ø  It is ensured that road safety is the integral part of road design at planning stage.

Ø  Various steps to enhance road safety such as road furniture, road markings/road signs, introduction of Highway Traffic Management System using Intelligent Transport System, enhancement of discipline among contractors during construction, road safety audit on selected stretches, have been undertaken by National Highways Authority of India.

Ø  Refresher training to Heavy Motor Vehicle drivers in the unorganized sector being implemented by the Ministry since 1997-98 under plan activities.

Ø  Setting up of Driving Training School in the States by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Ø  A massive public awareness campaign was carried out in the electronic/print media through the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), Doordarshan and All India Radio.  Publicity material like calendars, posters, book on road signs, children activity book and mouse-pad etc. were also supplied to Transport and Police Authorities in States/Union Territories and Schools for widespread distribution.

Ø  Providing cranes and ambulances to various State Governments/NGOs under National Highway Accident Relief Service Scheme. So far, 347 cranes, 106 small/medium sized cranes and 579 ambulances have been sanctioned.   140 ambulances are also being provided to the hospitals along National Highways identified by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. National Highways Authority of India also provides ambulances at a distance of 50 Km. on each of its completed stretches of National Highways under its Operation & Maintenance contracts.

Ø  The first National Workshop on road safety was held at New Delhi on 03.04.2012. The theme was “improving the safety of most vulnerable road users”.  The meeting was attended by the Transport Ministers from the States, Pr. Secretaries/Secretaries/Commissioners of Transport and DG/IG of Police of States/UTs.

As per the deliberations in the 12th meeting of the National Road Safety Council held on 25th March, 2011, the Ministry   formed five separate working groups on four E’s of Road Safety viz

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(i) Education (ii) Enforcement (iii) Engineering (road as well as vehicles) and (iv) Emergence care to deliberate in detail and submit their recommendations on short term and long term measures for immediate implementation so as to curb road accident in the country.  NRSC in its 13th meeting held on 29th February, 2012 deliberated on the recommendations of all the five working groups. A synthesis report containing all the major recommendations of five Working Groups has been uploaded on the Ministry’s website.

9.International Co-operation

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has also signed Memorandums of Understanding /Agreement with other countries for bilateral cooperation on Road Infrastructure and Road Transportation Technology.

Phase ‘A’ of SARDP-NE approved by the Government envisages improvement of about 4,099 km length of roads (2041 km of NH and 2058 km of State roads). The SARDP-NE Phase-A is targeted for completion by March,2015. Length sanctioned & awarded during the calendar year up to November,2012 is 21 km. Length completed during the calendar year up to November, 2012 is 114 km. Work in progress as on 30th November, 2012 is  1494 km.

Phase ‘B’ of SARDP-NE, covering 3723 km (1285 km NHs and 2438 km of State roads) has been approved for DPR preparation only and so far, DPRs for about 521 km have been completed (up to 30th November, 2012).

Special Package for Arunachal Pradesh: The Arunachal Pradesh Package for Road & Highways involving development of about 2319 km length of road (1,472 km of NHs & 847 km of State / General Staff! Strategic Roads) has also been approved by the Government. Projects on 776 km are to be taken up on BOT (Annuity) mode and the balance 1,543 km is to be developed on EPC basis. The entire Arunachal package is targeted for completion by June, 2016. Length sanctioned & awarded during the calendar year and work in progress as on 301h November, 2012 is 120 km. Length completed as on 30th November, 2012 is 40 km. Length in progress as on 30th November, 2012 is 1283 km.

Raja Raja Cholan
About Raja Raja Cholan 659 Articles
Trainer & Mentor for aspirants preparing for civil service examination

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