After almost three-and-a-half years in power, the Narendra Modi government is making an audacious bet on infrastructure to try and kickstart India’s sputtering economy.
In the next five years, the government plans to build 83,677 kilometres (km) of roads by spending a staggering Rs7 lakh crore ($108 billion). This is the largest-ever outlay for road construction in India and the length of the proposed roads is more than twice the Earth’s circumference (around 40,000km). In all, India has about 96,260km of national highways, while the total length of all roads is about 3.3 million km.
The plan includes the Bharatmala Pariyojana, involving an extensive highway network of 34,800km connecting India’s western border to the eastern one, with a likely investment of Rs5,35,000 crore. Another Rs157,000 crore will go towards building 48,877km of roads by the state-run National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the ministry of road transport and highways.
“The huge spending …