Transport and Communication system of India


Road and Railway complimentarily, coordination and competition:

Road – Railway Complementarity& Coordination

Roads are economically and technologically most viable form of communication for short distances. Roads are expected to connect local markets and local markets with regional markets for the transportation of goods, commodities and passengers.

Railway is economically and technologically most viable for intermediate distance. It is expected to connect regional markets, regional markets with central / national markets for transportation of goods, commodities and passengers.

Thus roads   and railways ‘have a role of complementarity and coordination as they serve their purpose according to economic and technological viability for strengthening backward and forward linkages of Indian economy.

Road – Railway Competition

In recent years, railways is losing business to road transportation. This phenomena is known as road – railway competition. Road transportation has the following advantages in respect of railway.

  • With National Highway Development project, there is modernization of roads. Road congestion has been considerably reduced speed and efficiency is better.
  • With modernization of road transport technology, trucks and lorries are bigger and more cost effective.
  • Road routes are more flexible in case of disturbances where routes could be changed to reach destination.

The disadvantage with railways:

  • Routes are inflexible.
  • Railways is under government control. Hence policies are rigid. Implementation, of policies are slow.
  • Corporation is rampant.
  • Due to structural deficiencies, cost and time over-run is high.


NHDP (National Highway Development Project)

Introduction: It was introduced in 1999.

Objectives: Modernization of National Highways for

  • Reducing time and cost over-run by reducing congestion.
  • Strengthening backward and forward linkages of Indian economy to improve economic efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.
  • Attracting Foreign Direct Investment for expanding economic production capacity.
  • Connecting Indian economy with global economy..

Strategy & Implementation:

NHAI is responsible for its implementation. The 3 region components of this projects are:

  • Golden Quadrilateral: Six Laning of National highways connecting the four major metropolitan cities of India. Total length : 5800 km.
  • North – South- East-West Corridor: Four Laning of National Highways counting Srinagar with Kanyakumari and Silchar with Porbandar. Total length : 7300 km.
  • International Sea-Port & Air-Port Connectivity: Connecting the Golden Quadrilateral and corridors with the nearest international sea ports and airports with lanes of road.




Internal waterways are located in Perennial Rivers & Canals. These are used for transporting goods & commodities by using mechanized boats and streamers. In respect of roads and railways, internal waterways are considered better for transporting goods and commodities. These are environmentally and economically more viable. As for the development of internal waterways, no transmission lines like road and rail are required to be constructed. Construction of roads & rail interfere into vital natural eco-systems and habitats. Following are the three most important waterways-of India.

  1. Allahabad To Haldia
  2. Sadiya To Dhubri
  3. West Coast Canal

National Inland Waterways Authority is responsible for establishing and maintaining the inland waterways of India.

Inland waterways are not popular in India as in European and North American countries. Economic as well as condition of inland waterways.

Geographical Factors:

  1. Himalayan rivers have multiple waterfalls.
  2. Peninsular rivers are seasonal in nature, their valleys are wide and shallow.
  3. Himalayan rivers in plains have multiple meanders, hence the distance between source and destination is increased.
  4. Rivers and canals of India are suffering from pollution and sitting, hence are becoming shallow.
  5. For internal waterways to work efficiently, a sustained and continuous flow of water is required.
  6. Indian rivers are seasonal variation in respect of flow of water.

Economic Factors:

  1. Roads and railways have advantage in respect of internal waterways in respect of speed.

Significance of International seaports of India:

  1. Connecting Indian economy with global economy through international trade.
  2. Diversifying international trade income of composition and direction.
  3. Ensuring availability of commodities. India is deficient in production. This ensures price stability.
  4. Exporting surplus goods and commodities. This ensures employment, income to producers and earns foreign exchange for India.

International seaports on the west coast and east coast are also used for Inter and intra-regional trade.