Why it is in news?

  • The Centre announced a ₹5.35 lakh crore road construction package, called BharatMala Pariyojana, in a bid to spur the economy as private investment remains moribund.
  • This follows a Cabinet nod to build 34,800 km of roads nationwide, including in border and coastal areas.
  • To further optimise the efficiency of movement of goods and people across the country, the government is launching a new umbrella programme.
  • Outlay of ₹5,35,000 crore
  • Generate 14.2 crore mandays of jobs 

Integrated network

  • The BharatMala project will include economic corridors (9,000 km), inter-corridor and feeder route (6,000 km), national corridors efficiency improvement (5,000 km), border roads and international connectivity (2,000 km), coastal roads and port connectivity (2,000 km) and greenfield expressways (800 km).
  • Further, the remaining road projects of 10,000 km under the National Highways Development Project will form a part of the programme.
  • The government has identified new routes between economically important cities that would be 20% longer in terms of distance but take relatively less travel time.
  • For instance, the shortest road route between Mumbai and Cochin at present is 1,346 km, which takes 29 hours
  • However, the government has identified a 1,537-km route on this sector that will reduce travel time by five hours.
  • The project will be executed through the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways and State Public Works Department (PWDs).
  • Target for completion of the projects in the next five years.
  • Under the programme, roads will be built along the borders with Nepal and Bhutan, bottlenecks on the existing Golden Quadrilateral highway network will be removed.
  • Also, road connectivity to small industries will be ensured and manufacturing centres will be connected with national highways, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said. 

Logistics boost

  • With the implementation of this programme, India could get the much-needed cost competitiveness in the manufacturing sector by bringing down the logistics cost which is currently one of the highest amongst the emerging markets and way above that prevalent in developed economies
  • The BharatMala project will be funded in a three-pronged manner – market, private investment and asset recycling of NHAI’s toll assets. While ₹2.09 lakh crore will be raised as debt from the market, ₹1.06 lakh crore will be mobilised through public-private partnership.
  • The remaining ₹2.19 lakh crore will flow from accruals of the Central Road Funds, Toll-Operate-Maintain-Transfer monetisation proceeds and toll collections, the statement said.

Posted by Jawwad Kazi on 25th Oct 2017