India’s transport sector is large and diverse; it caters to the needs of 1.1 billion people. In 2007, the sector contributed about 5.5 percent to the nation’s GDP, with road transportation contributing the lion’s share.
Good physical connectivity in the urban and rural areas is essential for economic growth. Since the early 1990s, India's growing economy has witnessed a rise in demand for transport infrastructure and services.
However, the sector has not been able to keep pace with rising demand and is proving to be a drag on the economy. Major improvements in the sector are required to support the country's continued economic growth and to reduce poverty.
Railways. Indian Railways is one of the largest railways under single management. It carries some 17 million passengers and 2 million tonnes of freight a day in year 2007 and is one of the world’s largest employers. The railways play a leading role in carrying passengers and cargo across India's vast territory. However, most of its major corridors have capacity constraint requiring capacity enhancement plans.
Roads. Roads are the dominant mode of transportation in India today. They carry almost 90 percent of the country’s passenger traffic and 65 percent of its freight. The density of India’s highway network -- at 0.66 km of highway per square kilometer of land – is similar to that of the United States (0.65) and much greater than China's (0.16) or Brazil's (0.20). However, most highways in India are narrow and congested with poor surface quality, and 40 percent of India’s villages do not have access to all-weather roads. Rural Roads- A Lifeline for Villages in India: Connecting Hinterland to Social Services and markets Ports. India has 12 major and 187 minor and intermediate ports along its more than 7500 km long coastline. These ports serve the country’s growing foreign trade in petroleum products, iron ore, and coal, as well as the increasing movement of containers....