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  • 08 April, 2020

  • 9 Min Read

National Highways Development Programme (NHDP)-Bharatmala Pariyojana

NHAI achieved record 3,979 km highways construction

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Economy Infrastructure

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has achieved the highest ever highway construction feat with an accomplishment of 3,979 km of national highways in the financial Year 2019-20.However, it has completed 88% of highway construction against the target of building 4,500 km highways in FY-20. In the FY 2018-19, NHAI constructed 3,380 km of National Highways.

Initiatives taken to accelerate the pace of highway construction:

-The government has initiated a highway development programme in 2015 namely Bharatmala Pariyojana, which includes development of about 65,000 km of NHs. Under Phase-I of the programme, the government has approved implementation of 34,800 km of national highways projects with an outlay of Rs 5.35 lakh crore in a period of five years i.e. 2017-18 to 2021-22.The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been mandated to develop 27,500 km of NHs under Phase-I.
-Apart from above, the government has also revived stalled projects, streamlined land acquisition and acquisition of a major portion of land prior to inviting bids.
-Disputes resolution mechanism was revamped to avoid delays in completion of projects.


National Highways Development Programme (NHDP)

National Highways Development Programme (NHDP) was launched in 1998 with the objective of developing roads of international standards which facilitate smooth flow of traffic. It envisages creation of roads with enhanced safety features, better riding surface, grade separator and other salient features. National Highways constitute only 2% of the total road length in the country but carry 40% of the total traffic.

NHDP is being implemented by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), an organisation under the aegis of Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways. The programme is being implemented in the following seven phases;

  • Phase I: Phase I consists of Golden Quadrilateral network comprising a total length of 5,846 km which connects the four major cities of Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai & Kolkata and 981 km of North-South and East-West corridor .NS-EW corridor connects Srinagar in the north to Kanyakumari in the south and Silchar in the east to Porbandar in the west. Phase I also includes improving connectivity to ports.
  • Phase II: Phase II covers 6,161 km of the NS-EW corridor (The total NS-EW corridor consists of 7,142 km) and 486 km of other NHs.
  • Phase III: Four-laning of 12,109 km of high density national highways connecting state capitals and places of economic, commercial and tourist importance.
  • Phase IV: Upgradation of 20,000 km of single-lane roads to two-lane standards with paved shoulders.
  • Phase V: Six-laning of 6,500 km of four-laned highways.
  • Phase VI: Construction of 1,000 km of expressways connecting major commercial and industrial townships.
  • Phase VII: Construction of ring roads, by-passes, underpasses, flyovers, etc. comprising 700 km of road network

About NHAI:

Establishment– 1995

Administrative control– Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH)

Chairman– Dr. Sukhbir Singh Sandhu

Bharatmala Pariyojana

The Government of India launched “Bharatmala Pariyojana”, a new umbrella program for the highways sector that focuses on optimizing the efficiency of road traffic movement across the country by bridging critical infrastructure gaps. The project covering a whopping 34800 km of the road would be completed in a phased manner.

The Bharatmala Pariyojana was announced i, the Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India with an aim to improve the road network in the country. The budget for the scheme will be managed by the cess collected on petrol and diesel and the tax collected at toll booths, apart from the budgetary support provided by the Government.

The components of Bharatmala Pariyojana are

  1. Development of Economic corridors – 9,000 Kms
  2. Inter-corridor & feeder roads – 6,000 Kms
  3. Improving the efficiency of National Corridors – 5,000 Kms
  4. Border & International connectivity roads – 2,000 Kms
  5. Coastal & port connectivity roads – 2,000 Kms
  6. Expressways – 800 Kms
  7. Balance of NHDP works – 10000 Kms

The Bharatmala project envisions to improve the efficiency of the National Corridor including the Golden-Quadrilateral and North, South –East West corridor by decongesting the choke points through the construction of elevated corridors, bypasses, ring roads, lane expansion and logistics parks at identified points.

The project plan includes the construction of Border Roads of strategic importance along international boundaries and International Connectivity roads to promote trade with Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

The programme has identified around 26,200 km of Economic Corridors or routes that have heavy freight traffic. The programme has planned to develop the identified Economic Corridors with heavy freight traffic, end to end to ensure seamless, speedy travel and uniformity in standards. Feeder Corridors will be developed so as to address the infrastructure asymmetry that exists in many places.

All projects implemented under Bharatmala are to be technically, financially and economically appraised by an empowered Project Appraisal &Technical Scrutiny Committee to be set up in National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

Features of Bharatmala Pariyojana

The scheme was initiated with an aim to improve road traffic and improve trade through road transportation. Some other key features of the Bharatmala Pariyojana include:

  1. The main aim was to improve the quality of roads in order to bring in a wave of development in every corner of the country.
  2. Construction of new roads is another important feature for the announcement for this scheme.
  3. The Government plans to finish the construction of all the roads, under this scheme, within a time span of five years.
  4. Since the fund provided by the Government may not be sufficient for the construction of roads, hence the Ministry relies on various other sources for the completion of this project.
  5. The project aims to construct multiple roads and for proper executive of the project, the Ministry has decided to divide the project into various categories for proper construction of the roads.


  • Optimizing efficiency of the movement of goods and people across the country.
  • Generating large number of direct and indirect employment opportunities in the construction & infrastructure sector and also as part of the enhanced economic activity resulting from better road connectivity across the country.
  • Connecting 550 Districts in the country through NH linkages.

Highlights of Bharatmala Pariyojana

  • It calls for improvement in efficiency of existing corridors through development of Multimodal Logistics Parks and elimination of choke points.
  • It enhances focus on improving connectivity in North East and leveraging synergies with Inland Waterways.
    • North East Economic corridor enhancing connectivity to state capitals and key towns.
    • Multimodal freight movement via 7 Waterway terminals on River Brahmaputra – Dhubri, Silghat, Biswanath Ghat, Neamati, Dibrugarh, Sengajan, Oriyamgh.
  • It emphasis on the use of technology & scientific planning for project preparation and asset monitoring.
  • It calls for seamless connectivity with neighboring countries:
    • 24 Integrated check posts (ICPs) identified
    • Transit through Bangladesh to improve North East connectivity
    • Integrating Bangladesh – Bhutan – Nepal and Myanmar – Thailand corridors which will make NorthEast hub of East Asia
  • Satellite mapping of corridors to identify upgradation requirements

Challenges of Bharatmala Project

The Bharatmala project was announced in 2017 and was targetted to get completed by 2022. However, the latest reports suggest that the project currently is nowhere close to completion because of the increased land cost and the increase in the estimated budget for the project.

The Central Government is now looking in for more investments from funds collected from the market and any other private investment. If the estimated budget is not met, then the Government intends to auction completed highway projects or even look for foreign debts and bond markets.

Bharatmala Route

The government will mobilize resources for Bharatmala through four different routes:

  • Market borrowings
  • Central road fund
  • Monetizing government-owned road assets
  • Budgetary allocation

Of the total amount, Rs. 2 Lakh Crore are to be raised as debt from market borrowings, while Rs. 1 Lakh crore will be used from the accrued money in Central Road Fund and toll collections by NHAI.

This project will help in the economic growth of the country by increasing the corridors from 6 to 50. The Central Government, with the Bharatmala Project intent to increase trade, improve the condition of the National Highways and improve the network of roads in the country.

Source: TH/Gov Web

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