The Economic Survey tabled in Parliament today pointed out the need for last-mile connectivity by building district roads is the need of the hour as it would not just provide better access to the hinterland but also enhance economic activities.
“In states like Bihar, Odisha, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, the density of Other Public Work Department (OPWD) road or district road is very low. There is a need for developing OPWD roads including District Roads, so as to provide better access, thereby enhancing economic activities,” the Economic Survey 2017-18 said.
By September 2017, the total length of National Highways was 1,15,530 km which accounted for 2.06 per cent of the total road length. On the other hand, the length of State Highways was 1,76,166 km as on 2015-16.
The Union government received proposals for declaration of more than 64,000 km of state roads as National Highways from various state governments, against which the Ministry of Road and Transportation has declared about 10,000 km of roads as new National Highways.
The survey noted that the Global Infrastructure Outlook forecasts around $4.5 trillion worth of investments are required by India till 2040 to develop infrastructure to improve economic growth and community well-being.
It also observed that in order to expedite completion of delayed projects, various steps have been taken for streamlining of land
acquisition & environment clearances.
In the sphere of urban transportation, with financial assistance from the Union government, 425 km of metro rail systems are operational and about 684 km are under construction in various cities across India (as in December 2017).
Meanwhile in the maritime sector, in 2017-18 (till December 31, 2017), cargo traffic handled at Major Ports has been 499.41 million tonnes compared to 481.87 million tonnes handled during the corresponding period of 2016-17.
Under the Sagarmala Programme, which is to promote port-led development along the Indian coastline, 289 Projects worth Rs 2.17 trillion are under various stages of implementation and development.