What is Bharatmala project? PM Narendra Modi’s most ambitious highway development plan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government has formally approved the Phase-1 of one of India’s biggest highway development plan – the Bharatmala project.

Bharatmala project,  Bharatmala ,  Bharatmala highway development programme, highway development programme, highway development,  PM Narendra Modi, highway development plan
Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella highway development programme. (Representative Photo: PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella highway development project. The Centre has formally approved the Phase-1 of one of India’s biggest highway development plan – the Bharatmala project. Under the phase-1 of the massive project, a total of around 34,800-km of roads at an investment of over Rs 5.35 lakh crores would be constructed by 2022.

Here are important points you should know about the ambitious project:

  • Bharatmala is 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.
  • Highways works worth Rs 8 lakh crore will begin before the end of 2018 under the Bharatmala Pariyojana.
  • According to Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari, Bharatmala will be a major driver for economic growth in the country, and help realize Prime Minister Modi’s vision of a “New India.”
  • Gadkari says the programme has been designed to bridge the gaps in the existing highways infrastructure so as to make the movement of man and material more efficient.
  • Special attention has been paid to fulfill the connectivity needs of backward and tribal areas, areas of economic activity, places of religious and tourist interest, border areas, coastal areas and trade routes with neighbouring countries under the programme.
  • Bharatmala will give India 50 national corridors as opposed to the six at present. With this, 70 – 80 percent of freight will move along NH as against the 40 percent at present, says Gadkari.
  • Bharatmala project will help to connect 550 Districts in the country through NH linkages. Currently, only around 300 Districts have NH linkages.
  • Bharatmala is also expected to have a positive impact on the Logistic Performance Index (LPI) of the country.
  • Apart from this, Gadkari says the project will help generate a large number of direct and indirect employment in the construction activity, the development of highways amenities and also as part of the enhanced economic activity in different parts of the country that will result from better road connectivity .
  • A total of around 24,800 kms are being considered in Phase I of Bharatmala.
  • Bharatmala Pariyojana phase –I also includes 10,000 kms of balance road works under NHDP, taking the total to 34,800 kms at an estimated cost of Rs.5,35,000 crore. Bharatmala Phase I – is to be implemented over a five years period of i.e. 2017-18 to 2021-22.



  • Bharatmala envisages improving the efficiency of the National Corridor (Golden-Quadrilateral and NS-EW corridor) by decongesting its choke points through lane expansion, construction of ring roads, bypasses/ elevated corridors and logistics parks at identified points. Around 5,000 kms of the National Corridor will be taken up in Phase-I of Bharatmala at an estimated cost of Rs 100,000 crore.
  • The Bharatmala programme has identified around 26,200 km of Economic Corridors or routes that have heavy freight traffic, of which 9,000 kms are being taken up for development in Phase-I at an estimated cost of Rs 1,20,000 crore. It is planned to develop these corridors end to end to ensure seamless and speedy travel and uniformity in standards.
  • Around 8,000 km of Inter-Corridors and around 7,500 km of Feeder Corridors have also been identified under Bharatmala, of which around 6000 km will be developed in Phase I at an estimated cost of Rs 80,000 crore. Stretches of roads connecting more than 2 corridors are classified as Inter-Corridors routes, while other routes connecting to 1 or 2 corridors are termed as Feeder Corridors. These corridors will be developed so as to address the infrastructure asymmetry that exists at many places .

Bharatmala Project details: Components of Phase I and estimated expenditure 

Sl. No.ComponentsLength -kmOutlay -Rs crore
a.Economic corridors development90001,20,000
b.Inter-corridor & feeder roads600080000
c.National Corridors Efficiency improvements:5000100000
d.Border & International connectivity roads200025000
e.Coastal & port connectivity roads200020000
Balance road works under NHDP100001,50,000
  • Bharatmala also envisages building 3300 kms of Border Roads of strategic importance along international boundaries and 2000 km of International Connectivity roads to promote trade with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar . Out of this around 2000 km will be taken up under Phase-I at an estimated cost of Rs 25,000 crore.
  • In addition to the above, around 2,100 km of coastal roads and 2000 km of port connectivity roads have been identified under Bharatmala of which 2,000 kms are being taken up under Phase-I at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore.
  • About 1,900 km of stretches have been identified for development of green-field expressways of which around 800 kms will be taken up under Phase-I of the programme at an estimated cost of Rs.40,000 crore. The 10,000 km of balance road work under NHDP will be completed at a cost of Rs 1,50,000 crore.
  • Gross Budgetary Support for the Bharatmala program and existing schemes from 2017-18 to 2021–22 will be restricted to Rs. 2,37,024 crore from Central Road Fund (CRF), Rs 59,973 crore as Budgetary support, Rs. 34,000 crore from expected monetization through ToT route and Rs. 46,048 crore collected as Toll-Permanent Bridge Fee Fund (PBFF) by NHAI.
  • Projects under Bharatmala Phase-I are to be implemented through NHAI, NHIDCL, MoRTH and State PWDs.
  • Grand Challenge’ mechanism is to be adopted to encourage State Government participation in implementation of the program.
  • A total of around 600 projects have been identified across the components for Bharatmala. DPR preparation for 19,500 kms is underway currently.
  • The Public Investment Board (PIB) had approved the phase-1 of the project in June this year.
  • The Bharatmala project is also expected to boost the associated industries like cement and steel sectors; and generate lakhs of jobs.

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First published on: 24-10-2017 at 17:25 IST