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Transforming Connectivity Infrastructure in India - Progress, Opportunities, and Future Prospects

- May 2023 | By Ansh Luthra

India has witnessed substantial advancements in infrastructure development across various sectors. Investments in roads, railways, metro systems, aviation, ports, and multi-modal infrastructure have been prioritized. The focus is on enhancing connectivity, improving logistics efficiency, and creating a robust transportation network to support economic growth and development.
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India has been investing heavily in infrastructure development to drive its overall growth. The Government of India has prioritized the infrastructure sector and has introduced several initiatives, including the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), Make in India, and the production-linked incentives (PLI) program, to boost the expansion of this sector. Let's look at the progress made in various segments of infrastructure development in the last decade.

Roads and Highways
The government has grown the budget allocation for roads and highways by 8 times, from Rs. 33.31 thousand crores in 2014-15 to Rs. 2.70 lakh crore in 2022-23. The speed of highway construction has reached a record high of about 37 km per day in 2021 compared to about 12 km per day in 2013-14. Additionally, the total length of the National Highways has increased by more than 66% on a mission mode since 2014, from about 91.3 thousand km to over 1.44 lakh km till Dec 2022. Today, India is creating opportunities in this sector by inviting Investment in Roads & Highways Infrastructure and fulfilling its target of constructing 60 Km of highways per day.

Indian Railways witnessed unprecedented electrification of the railway network, with over 85% of the entire railway broad gauge network electrified. States like Uttar Pradesh, which is India’s most populous state achieved 100% electrification in 2023. India is expanding its Railway Infrastructure and India Investment Grid is a one-stop portal that showcases Opportunities in Railway Infrastructure. Moreover, Indian railways first time breached the 1,400 million tonne freight loading mark in 2021-22. Station redevelopment has been one of the many focus points of the GoI. At present, 45 stations are under various stages of redevelopment. Similarly, 750+ Projects are available on the IIG portal for Investors to find opportunities in this sector.


Metro Rail
The Government of India has significantly increased the operational metro network in the country. The total number of cities with operational metro networks has increased from 5 in 2014 to 20 in 2023. The cumulative metro lines constructed have now reached 775 km as of Aug 2022. Furthermore, another 1,000 km of metro network is under construction. Urban Transportation is a crucial part of Urban Infrastructure Development, 50+ opportunities in this sector are currently open for investors on IIG. 

*Targeted Presence in Cities

Civil Aviation
The Government of India has focused on enhancing air connectivity in tier II and III cities through the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, which aims to fulfil the aspirations of the common man. In just five years, 467 UDAN routes now connect 70 underserved/unserved airports, including heliports and water aerodromes, and over 1 crore people have benefited from it (as of Dec 2022). Additionally, the government has operationalized 148 airports, with a specialized focus on north-east connectivity. India has plans to expand the scope of Civil Aviation in the country and Investments in Civil Aviation Infrastructure have become a priority for the GoI. 

Ports, Shipping, and Inland Waterways
Inland waterways have seen a significant increase in cargo movement, with almost seven times more cargo moved in 2021-22 (108.79 million tonnes) compared to 2013-14 (16.09 million tonnes). The total number of waterways in the country has increased to 111, including 106 new and 5 existing waterways. Additionally, the overall average turnaround time for ports has reduced from 96 hours in 2014-15 to 52.80 hours in 2021-22, while the container average turnaround time at major ports has reduced from 35.21 hours in 2014-15 to 27.22 hours in 2021-22. This is in accordance with enhancing India’s logistics sector by creating Investment Opportunities in Ports, Shipping and Inland Waterways Infrastructure and reducing TAT at all points of the bottleneck.

Multi-Modal Infrastructure
India has been actively developing multi-modal infrastructure to enhance connectivity and improve logistics efficiency. The integration of different modes of transport, such as road, rail, air, and waterways, allows for seamless movement of goods and passengers. This approach facilitates faster and more cost-effective transportation, boosting trade and economic growth. An excellent example of this is the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project.  The DFC combines rail, road, and inland waterways to create a seamless transportation network specifically designed for freight movement. It aims to reduce transit time, improve reliability, and increase the capacity of freight transportation. 

The government's emphasis on connectivity infrastructure reflects its commitment to building a robust and interconnected transportation network across the country that aims to provide seamless connectivity across the country.