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India’s National Highways: A Journey of Transformation and Progress (2023 Review)

New Delhi, 5th January 2024 – The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has showcased a significant transformation in India’s road network, particularly the National Highways (NH), as it released its Year End Review for 2023. The national highway network, a crucial component in India’s infrastructure, has expanded by approximately 60% since 2014, reaching 1,46,145 km in 2023. This growth marks a substantial leap from the 91,287 km recorded in 2014.

Key Highlights of the National Highway Network Development:

  1. Expansion and Upgrading: The length of 4 lanes and above NH has increased by 2.5 times, from 18,387 km in 2014 to 46,179 km by November 2023. Conversely, the length of less than 2 lane NH has decreased from 30% in 2014 to 10% in 2023.
  2. Construction Pace: The average pace of NH construction has surged by 143%, reaching 28.3 km/day, a significant jump from the rate in 2014.
  3. Financial Growth: The expenditure on NH development is expected to increase by 9.4 times, amounting to Rs 3.17 lakh Crore, up from the figures in 2014.
  4. Special Campaign 3.0: Achieved 100% success in the campaign running from 2nd October to 31st October 2023.

Bharatmala Pariyojana: A Game-Changer in Infrastructure
The Bharatmala Pariyojana, focusing on optimizing the efficiency of goods and people movement, has been a pivotal project. Under its Phase I, significant progress is observed with 27,384 km awarded and 15,045 km constructed, out of the total planned 34,800 km.

COVID-19 Relief for Road Sector
MoRTH extended relief measures for contractors and developers in the road sector due to the pandemic, with provisions such as relaxation in Schedule H/G, direct payments to subcontractors, and reduction in performance security.

Notable Developments in Road Safety and Technology:

  1. Bharat New Car Assessment Programme: This initiative for the safety rating of passenger cars empowers consumers to make informed decisions.
  2. Vehicle Scrapping Policy: A total of 49,770 vehicles have been scrapped under this policy, with 44 RVSFs operational across 15 states.
  3. Digital Initiatives: Launch of two mobile applications – ‘Rajmarg Yatra’ for customer redressal and ‘NHAI One’ for digital on-site project execution.

Rapid Progress in Port Connectivity and Logistics:
Out of the 108 port connectivity road projects, 8 have been completed, 28 are awarded, and 72 are in progress. Additionally, multimodal logistics parks (MMLPs) are being developed to bolster regional cargo handling.

Major Events and Inaugurations:
The year witnessed several key projects’ inaugurations and foundation stone laying by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari, amounting to substantial investments across various states.

Promoting Road Safety and Eco-Friendly Measures:
The ministry emphasized road safety with initiatives like reconstituting the National Road Safety Council and mandating fire alarm and protection systems in buses. Additionally, it focused on green initiatives, including the approval of hydrogen and electric vehicles.

2023 has been a landmark year for India’s road transport sector, marked by significant growth, technological advancements, and a concerted focus on safety and sustainability. The Ministry’s efforts in expanding and upgrading the NH network, along with its focus on digital initiatives and eco-friendly measures, underscore its commitment to building a robust, safe, and efficient road infrastructure in India.

The length of National Highways (year-wise) is tabulated below:

Sr. No.YearLength (in km)
112023-24(up to Nov 2023)1,46, 145

                                (Source- “Basic Road Statistics of India)

Length Constructed: MoRTH constructed 5248 km of National Highways. (Provisional figures).

The pace of National Highways (NH) construction has increased consistently between 2014-15 and 2023-24 due to the systematic push through corridor-based National Highway development approach.

Sr. No.YearConstruction (in km)Construction (in km / day)
92022-23       10,331         28.3
102023-24(up to Nov 2023)          5,248     –

The Financial Year wise user fee collection on National Highways is as under:

FinancialYearTotal Tolling Length (In Km)User Fee Revenue
NHAI   MoRT&HTotal amount (In Crore Rupees)
PF (In Cr)Conc. (In Cr)Conc. (In Cr)
2018-1925,9965,691.4218,704.78    758.5625,154.76
2021-2238,31511,283.9421,753.15870.63   33,907.72
2023-24 up to Nov 2023)45,42815,862.3719,782.68732.7436,377.79
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