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Road and rail infrastructure in India - statistics & facts

The Indian economy has benefitted considerably from the infrastructure sector. It is a diverse field that passes through many industries including construction, urban and rural development, real estate, telecommunication, and transport. It contributed a share of about nine percent to India’s GDP. In the country’s organized market, popularly referred to as India Inc., the construction sector was valued at nearly nine trillion rupees in financial year 2019. Furthermore, the construction industry was attractive for foreign direct investments (FDI). After a decline in FDIs during 2019, however, inflow recovered the following year, reaching over 600 million U.S. dollars.

An important component in the infrastructure sector across India is road and rail transport. Since its expansion after the country’s independence, the network is composed of rural and district roads as well as national and state highways. The road network in the subcontinent was the second largest in the world. In 2019, the total length of roads across the country stood at over six million kilometers. Among the metropolitan cities, the capital region of Delhi had the longest road network spanning over 33 thousand kilometers as of 2019.

Though the road density and length in the country was quite high, the nation continued to suffer from poor quality of roads as compared to other developing countries. The conditions of the road network combined with the high passenger and freight traffic created a demand for further planning and investment into the road transportation sector.

Infrastructure development and investments in the railway sector in India had also been significant. The industry was the backbone of long-distance domestic transport, making the rail network third largest across the globe. There were over 22 thousand trains that connected around eight thousand stations. In 2020, over one billion metric tons of freight was carried via Indian railways. That year, the passenger traffic stood at over eight billion. On average, the railway network carried around 23 million passengers every day. The government continued investing in the industry to cater to the increasing demand of daily commutes created by a better connectivity between rural and urban areas, predominantly for employment purposes.

Given the importance of the infrastructure sector for the economic development of a country, reports on cost overruns and delays resulted in disputes in recent years. Nevertheless, the construction industry and infrastructure projects looked towards an economic revival after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These expectations were canalized through the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), one of the biggest governmental initiatives in recent years.

The NIP was launched in August 2020 and spanned the period from 2020 to 2025, aiming to improve quality of life for Indian citizens. Over seven thousand projects worth around 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars were scheduled. Although most projects were planned for the power sector, roads and railways made up a collective 32 percent. Besides massive governmental funding, one aim of the NIP was to attract major private funding for these projects.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 31 most important statistics relating to "Road and rail infrastructure in India".

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