In this essay we will discuss about Road Transport System of India. After reading this essay you will learn about: 1. Introduction to Road Transport System in India 2. Importance of Road Transport System in Indian Economy 3. Scenario 4. Problems 5. Suggestions for Improvement.
- Essay on Road Transport System in India
- Essay on the Importance of Road Transport System in Indian Economy
- Essay on the Scenario of Road Transport System in India
- Essay on the Problems of Road Transport System in India
- Essay on the Suggestions for Improvement of Road Transport System in India
Essay # 1. Introduction to Road Transport System in India:
Road transport is the second important mode of transport in India. It covers every corner of the country which the railway transport even could not cover. Road transport provides the basic infrastructural facilities to both the agricultural and industrial sector of the country.
Moreover, construction and maintenance of roads can generate huge employment opportunities as it is twice as labour intensive as agriculture or housing. Indian roads carry 85 per cent of the passengers and 70 per cent of the freight traffic of the country. The highways, make up only 2 per cent of the road network by length, but carry 40 per cent of this traffic.
Indian roads are classified broadly into following four categories:
(a) National Highways:
National Highways are considered as main arterial routes as it connects big cities, industrial centres, major ports and different states of the country. Total length of National Highways is nearly 79.1 thousand kms in 2012-13 and caters to about 45 per cent of the total road transport demand. The construction and maintenance of national highways of the country are the responsibility of the central government.
(b) State Highways:
State highways are the important roads which are connecting district headquarter and important towns and cities with the capital and National Highways. Construction and the maintenance of state highways are the responsibility of the State Government. Total length of State Highways in 2012-13 was 168.3 thousand kms.
(c) District Roads:
District roads connect production centres and markets. It also connects main roads to the interior places of each and every district. Major portion of this road is unmetalled and are, therefore, un-motor able during the rainy season. Total length of major district roads was 470.0 thousand km in 2004-05.
(d) Village Roads:
Village roads of India are connecting villages with one another and also connect the village roads with the nearest district roads, highway, railway stations or river ghat. Village roads may be broadly of two types—Classified and Unclassified. Unclassified Village roads are normally non-metalled roads. Total length of rural roads was 2,650.0 thousand km in 2004-05.
In India, total length of roads has increased from 4 lakh kms in 1950-51 to nearly 49.49 lakh kms in 2012-13 out of which 27.42 lakh kms is surfaced and the rest 22.07 lakhs kms is un-surfaced. This shows that annual growth rate of this increase in road length was 4.5 per cent.
National Highways which have a total length of nearly 66,800 kms constitute only 1.6 per cent of the total road system of the country. About 64 per cent of the villages of the country have a rural road network and the rest 36 per cent have no road connections. Moreover, over 65 per cent of our villages do not have an all weather roads.
At present, India has a total road network covering 4.69 million kilometers which makes it one of the largest road networks in the world. The country’s road network consists of National Highways, State Highways, Major District Roads, Other District Roads and Village Roads.
The road network comprises 79,100 km of National Highways, 1,68,300 km. of State Highways 4,70,000 km of Major District Roads and about 26,50,000 km of other District and Rural Roads.
Out of the total length of National Highways, about 24 per cent is single lane / intermediate lane, about 51 per cent is standard 2- lane and balance 25 per cent is 4-lane width or more. Though National Highways account for only 2 per cent of the total length of roads, they account for about 40 per cent of the total traffic.
It is estimated that road traffic in India accounts for 80 per cent of passenger traffic and 60 per cent of goods traffic in the country. In future, 87 per cent of the passenger traffic and 65 per cent of the goods traffic is expected to be met through road transport system.
In our Five Year Plans, a good amount of fund was allocated for the development of roads. During the first three plans and the Annual Plans, nearly Rs 1,104 crore was spent on the heads of road development. Again the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Plan had allocated funds worth Rs 862 crore, Rs 1,348 crore, Rs 3,439 crore and Rs 5,200 crore respectively for the development of roads in the country.
Central Road Fund (CRF):
Road construction is a capital intensive project. Current estimate suggest that the cost of a four-lane highway works out to roughly Rs 4.5 crore per kilometer and the cost of a protected access, six-lane expressway works out to roughly Rs 8.5 crore per kilometer. Under the present situation, the experiences with tolling suggest that there is limited scope for obtaining user charges through tolls.
A key innovation in recent years was the creation of a major new source of funding for national, state and rural roads: the Central Road Fund (CRF) created under the Central Road Fund Act, 2000. This was a major milestone in obtaining user charges to fund road construction.
The following are the details of the Central Road Fund:
1. Additional excise duty of Re. 1 per litre on petrol levied since September 2, 1998 and Re. 1 per litre on high speed diesel since March 1999 accrue to the Central Road Fund (CRF). An amount of Rs 6,030 crore is collected during 2002-03 under the CRF. Recently, the cess is raised to Rs 2.00 per litre on the sale of petrol and diesel.
2. The allocation of cess among various categories is made in the following manner:
(a) 50 per cent of cess on HSD for development of rural roads:
(b) Out of the remaining 50 per cent of HSD cess plus 100 per cent of petrol cess—57.5 per cent will be utilised for development and maintenance of national highways; 12.5 per cent will be utilised for development and maintenance of road bridges, under/over railway lines/safety work for unmanned railway crossing; and the remaining 30 per cent for the development and maintenance of state roads other than rural roads. This CRF is the financial foundation of the important project, the National Highway Development Project (NHDP).
Thus, the National Highways are considered as prime arterial route. Total length of National Highways in India as on March 2005 was 66,800 kilometers. The National Highways Authority of India which was constituted under the National Highway Authority of India Act, 1988 was made operational in February, 1995.
Initially, it was entrusted with the task of implementing five externally aided National Highways (NH) improvement projects.
Subsequently, it was mandated to implement the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) comprising 4/6 laning of 14,279 km of national highways having two components, i.e.,
(i) The Golden Quadrilateral connecting four metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata (5,846 km.),
(ii) North-South and East-West corridors (7,300 km) connecting Srinagar to Kanyakumari and Silchar to Saurashtra respectively and Salem to Cochin
(iii) Port Connectivity and other projects (1,157 kms) and
(iv) NHDP Phase-III-A: four laning of 4,035 km of BOT in the year 2005 approved at an estimated cost of Rs 22,207 crore. The Government has also taken action for preparation of DPRs for the balance length of 7,028 kms under Phase III B.
(v) Government has approved six-laning of 6,500 kms under NHDP Phase-V at a cost of Rs 41,210 crore; and
(vi) Government approved the construction of 1,000 kms of expressways at a cost of Rs 16,680 crore under NHDP-Phase VI. A task force headed by Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission is monitoring the progress. NHDP is estimated to cost Rs 87,000 crore. The Golden Quadrilateral part is completed by 2006 and North-South and East-West corridor by 2016.
Essay # 2. Importance of Road Transport System in Indian Economy:
Road transport system in India is having a special importance in the process of economic development of the country.
Let us now discuss these importance:
1. Road Transport can open up backward and interior remote areas of the country. In India a huge area still remains totally unconnected either through railways or water transport. Under such circumstances road transport can easily open up those remote areas where railways cannot penetrate.
2. Road transport in India is contributing significantly towards the growth of gross domestic product of the country. But in this regard, road transport in India still remains much backward.
3. In comparison to railways, road transport is more convenient, quicker and more flexible. For short distance travel and traffic, motor transport is the ideal mode of transport as it can collect and drop passenger and goods at any place. Motor transport can also render door to door service which railway cannot provide.
4. Road transport is complementary to railway and other modes of transport. It is only through feeder roads railways can collect its passengers and goods easily. Railways cannot connect villages of the country but through feeder roads, road transport can easily connect railway stations with distant villages.
5. Road transport is very much helpful to agricultural sector of the country as it provides easy and quick transportation facilities for the marketing of agricultural produce especially the perishable products like vegetables, fruits etc. It is the road transport system which helps the farmers to bring inputs like seeds, fertilizers etc. to the agricultural field along with providing a steady and ready market for their produce.
6. Road transport is very important for the industrial development of the country. Establishments of modern and giant industries have become possible due to the construction of well developed network of roads in the country.
7. Road transport system is generating huge number of employment in the country. Construction of roads is creating a huge scope for employment as it can create a good number of man-days of work to ordinary workers.
8. Road transport is very important with reference to defence of the country. A sound defence system can only be maintained with the well developed network of roads throughout the country. Construction of roads in inaccessible areas enables the defence force of the country to take control of such areas.
Regarding the importance of roads, the Seventh Plan document has rightly observed, “Since the country’s economy is largely agrarian in character and the settlement pattern is rural-oriented, roads constitute a critical element of the transportation infrastructure. Road construction and maintenance generate sizeable employment opportunities, a factor that has assumed considerable importance with demographic expansion and growth of the labour force. Better roads also achieve fuel economy and improve the overall productivity of the road transport sector. Road development will thus continue to play an important role in the Seventh Plan.”
Essay # 3. Scenario of Road Transport System in India:
In India, road transport system is rendering a valuable service to the general people in various directions of their life. Road transport in India may be classified as traditional and mechanised transport. Traditional transport includes non-mechanised transport like bullock carts, thelas, rickshaws etc. About 25 per cent of India’s trade is carried through this traditional mode of transport which directly employed nearly 2 crores of people.
Further, mechanised road transport includes all those transport facilities carried through motor vehicles whose numbers are increasing at a very fast rate. Total number of vehicles on road increased from 0.3 million in 1950-51 to 89.61 million in 2005-2006. Total number of buses has gone up from 34,000 to 9,92,000 and total number of trucks has increased from 82,000 to 44,36,000 during the same above mentioned period.
Thus the annual rate of growth of this transport was 5.4 per cent. At present, there are 66 State Road Transport Undertakings which have a total fleet of over 1.2 lakh buses on March, 1993 carrying 6.8 crore passengers daily.
Moreover, to develop inter-state routes, a Transport Development Council and Inter-State Transport Commission were established. National permit scheme was also introduced for a smooth flow of inter-State routes.
Essay # 4. Problems of Road Transport System in India:
Road transport system in India is suffering from numerous problem, as mentioned below:
(i) Unfavorable Road Conditions:
The road transport system in India is also suffering from unfavorable road conditions. Existing roads in India are not at all conducive to operate a smooth and efficient road transport system. Moreover, a large number of rural areas do not have any road linkage. In the absence of all weather roads, road transport system are facing a setback condition particularly during monsoons.
(ii) Private Ownership:
Road transport system in India is in the hands of private sector as nearly 48,000 operators are running their vehicles for this purpose. Under such a situation it becomes very difficult to regulate and control such a huge number of operators leading to inefficiency and irregularity in the system.
(iii) Excessive Tax Burden:
Road Transport in India is all along subjected to heavy and innumerable taxes like—Sales Tax, Import Duty, Vehicle Tax, Registration Fees etc. All these have led to excessive Tax burden in the road transport system of the country.
(iv) High Cost of Operation:
Unit cost of operation of road transport has been increasing day by day due to heavy taxes and duties, rise in price of fuel and spare parts and partially due to bad road conditions. Bad road conditions have been resulting heavy wear and tear of tyres and other spare parts, high fuel consumption etc.
(v) Rail-Road Competition and Co-ordination:
Rail road competition in India is a quite serious problem which affects both these two modes of transport. Such competition causes unnecessary wastage of resources. Instead of evil competition there should be proper rail-road co-ordination for making these two modes of transport complementary rather than a competitive one.
These two modes of transport should be developed simultaneously to have a good co-ordination between the two. Thus there should be a balanced growth of both these two modes of transport. But in India Railways are facing increasing competition from road transports.
As for example, the share of road transport in respect of freight has increased from 11 per cent in 1950-51 to 58 per cent in 1985-86 and then to 40 per cent in 1992. But the share of railways in respect of freight has come down from 89 per cent in 1950-51 to 42 per cent in 1985-86 and then to 60 per cent in 1992.
Same is also the case in respect of passenger traffic. Thus through evil competition road transport in India is expanding its network over railway transport. Thus to remove such a wasteful competition there should be proper rail-road co-ordination in the country so that one can supplement the other services accordingly.
Essay # 5. Suggestions for Improvement of Road Transport System in India:
Following are some of the suggestions for the improvement of road transport system in India:
(i) Development of Expressways, Bypasses and Four-Laning of Congested Corridors:
Considering the huge problem of congestion in the existing national highways, it is quite important that more national highways, expressways, bypasses and four-laning of congested corridors be constructed throughout the country for maintaining an improved road network.
(ii) Financial Policy:
The Government should design a definite financial policy for the improvement of road sector. Sufficient amount of fund should he earmarked for the construction and maintenance of roads. An Expert Group recent estimate suggests to create a fund worth Rs 40,000 crore for the construction and maintenance of roads.
The imposition of toll tax and special cess may be imposed for collecting necessary funds for the purpose. The budget of 1999-2000 proposed Rs 1 per litre cess on diesel which will raise nearly Rs 5,000 crore for the infrastructure development fund.
(iii) Private Sector Participation on BOT Scheme:
As per the amendment of the National Highway Act in 1995, private sector participation in road construction project on Build-Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis should be encouraged to develop a sound road network throughout the country. A recent study observed that about 10,000 kms expressways is required to be built by the year 2015 to meet the demand adequately.
This would cost about Rs 80,000 crore to Rs 1,00,000 crore. Another Rs 52,000 crore would be required to remove deficiencies in the existing network. Considering the present requirement, private sector participation in the road sector on BOT basis should be encouraged.
(iv) Maintenance of Existing Roads:
Considering the poor condition of existing road network, steps be taken for proper maintenance of the existing roads within the shortest possible time. The Government should earmark definite fund for proper maintenance of existing road network of the country.
(v) Technical Improvement:
Steps be taken for technical improvement of the road transport sector. The means of road transport such as motor vehicles, trucks, bus, cars etc. should adopt fuel efficient technology through technical improvement leading to fall in the unit cost of road transport.
(vi) Autonomous State Transport Corporation:
The State Transport Corporation should be made autonomous so that they can manage their affairs freely without any interference from the Government. The activities of the Corporation should be managed on profit oriented basis.