Context: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken up a detailed review of National Highways (NHs) network and has given overall investment approval for Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase I Scheme.

More on the news: The Phase I of the scheme involves development of about 34,800 km  at an estimated outlay of Rs 5,35,000 Crore.

About Bharatmala Pariyojana:

  • Bharatmala Pariyojana is a centrally sponsored and funded Road and Highways project of the Ministry of Road and Highways, Government of India, launched in 2015.
  • The total investment for 83,677 km committed new highways is estimated at ₹5.35 lakh crore, making it the single largest outlay for a government road construction scheme. 
  • The ambitious umbrella programme will subsume all existing Highway Projects including the flagship National Highways Development Project (NHDP), launched in 1998.
  • It is both enabler and beneficiary of other key Government of India schemes, such as Sagarmala, Dedicated Freight Corridors, Industrial corridors, UDAN-RCS, BharatNet, Digital India and Make in India.
  • It is an umbrella program for the highways sector that focuses on optimizing efficiency of freight and passenger movement across the country. 
    • How? - By bridging critical infrastructure gaps: Through effective interventions like development of Economic Corridors, Inter Corridors and Feeder Routes, National Corridor Efficiency Improvement, Border and International connectivity roads, Coastal and Port connectivity roads and Green-field expressways.
  • Highlights of Bharatmala Pariyojana:
    • Improvement in efficiency of existing corridors through development of Multimodal Logistics Parks.
    • Enhance focus on improving connectivity in North East and leveraging synergies with Inland Waterways
    • Emphasis on use of technology & scientific planning for Project Preparation and Asset Monitoring
    • Delegation of powers to expedite project delivery: Phase I to complete by 2022
    • Improving connectivity in the North East
  • Key features:
    • Improving the quality of roads - The launch of the scheme has been done to bring a new wave of development in the nation in the form of well-maintained and developed roads. Under this project, the construction of roads in all parts of the nation will be undertaken.
    • Total road construction: As per the draft of the scheme, the government and the ministry will strive to complete new roads, which will add up to a whopping 34, 800 kms.
    • Integrated scheme: The Bharatmala is the name that is given to the road development and it will include many other related schemes as well. With the completion of all the schemes, the overall success of the scheme will be guaranteed.
    • Construction on a daily basis: To finish the first phase in time, the respective department has made efforts of constructing at least 18 km of path on a daily basis. To beat the clock, continued efforts are being made to raise it to 30 km/day.
    • Multi-source of finding: One source will not be enough for funding a mammoth project. Thus, the government will have to depend on other sources for generating adequate money to meet the expenses.