7th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)
[ Vol1-Index ] - [ Vol2-Index ]
<< Back to Index
Next >

Chapter: 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 || 9 || 10 || 11 || 12 || 13 || 14 || 15 || 16 || 17 || 18 || 19 || 20 || 21


8.1 Transport plays a vital role in the economic development of the country. It must provide efficient and reliable transport services and it must accomplish these objectives at a minimum resource cost. The existing transport system comprises of several modes of transport amongst which rail and road transport predominate. Other modes of transport like shipping, pipelines, air transport are also important within their specialised areas considering the size of the country and its geographical features. The growth in capacity of the modes over the past thirty-four years is set out in Table 8.1.

TABLE 8.1: Growth of Transport System

  Item Unit 1950-51 1960-61 1970-71 1979-80 1984-85 Growth rate
in percentage
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. RAILWAYS              
1.1 Route Length Kms. 53596 56247 59790 60933 61661 0.41
1.2 Electrified route length Kms. 388 748 3706 4820 6440 8.61
1.3 Tonnes Originating Million 93.0 156.2 196.5 217.8 264.4 3.12
1.4 Net Tonne Kms. Billion 44.12 87.68 127.36 156.00 182.55 4.27
1.5 Passengers Originating Million 1284 1594 2431 3505 3380 2.89
1.6 Passenger Kms. Billion 66.5 77.7 118.1 198.6 228.7 3.70
2. ROADS              
2.1 Total length 000 Kms. 397.62 705.0 917.9 1534.3 1772.8 4.49
2.2 Surfaced length 000 Kms. 156.11 234.4 397.9 658.1 833.0 5.05
2.3 Unsurfaced length 000 Kms. 241.51 470.6 520.0 876.2 939.8 4.08
2.4 National Highways Kms. 19700 23769 24000 29000 31710 1.41
2.5 Villages connected with all
  weather roads No. N.A. N.A. N.A. 167376 208938 4.531
2.6 Percentage of villages connected
  with all weather roads Per cent N.A. N.A. N.A. 28 35  
3. ROAD TRANSPORT              
3.1 Number of Trucks No. 81888 167649 342577 472093 763000 6.78
3.2 Number of Passenger Buses No. 34411 56792 93907 140346 206268 5.41
4. MAJOR PORTS              
4.1 Traffic handled Million Tonnes 19.2 39.9 55.7 78.5 106.7 5.17
4.2 Number of Major Ports No. 5 9 10 10 10*  
5. SHIPPING              
5.1 Overseas Shipping              
5.1.1 Shipping Tonnage Million GRT 0.17 0,54 2.20 5.30 5.97 11.03
5.1.2 Traffic carried Million Tonnes 1.2 2.2 10.4 20.0 31.00 10.04
5.2 Coastal Shipping              
5.2.1 Shipping Tonnage Million GRT 0.22 0.31 0.23 0.25 0.35 1.37
5.2.2 Traffic carried Million Tonnes 3.6 5.4 4.3 4.4 5.5 1.25
6.1 Length of Navigable Waterways Kms.       14544 14544
6.2 Length of Waterways suitable
  for mechanised craft Kms.       5685 5685
7.1 CIVIL AVIATION              
  Indian Airlines              
7.1.1 Capacity Million Tonnes 113 208 586 960 9.322
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
7.1.2. Traffic            
  (i) Revenue Tonne Kms. Million 83 161 399 664 9.052
  (ii) Revenue Passenger Kms. Million 614 1545 4199 6676 10.452
7.2 Air India            
7.2.1 Capacity Million Tonnes 161 516 1388 2007 11.082
7.2.2 Traffic             
  (i) Revenue Tonne Kms. Million 76 275 819 1257 12.402
  (ii) Revenue Passenger Kms. Million 583 1994 5731 8623 11.882
8. PIPELINES            
8.1 Length Kms.     5035 6535 5.351

1 From 1979-80 to 1984-85.
2 From 1960-61 to 1984-85. * This does not include Nheva Sheva Port which is under construction.

8.2 It will be seen from the table that transport has recorded a substantial growth during the last thirty-four years both in the spread of the net work as well as in the output of the system. Railways have recorded a growth rate of 4.3 per cent annum in freight traffic and 3.7 per cent per annum in passenger traffic. The traffic at major ports has increased at the rate of 5.2 per cent per annum. Domestic airlines passenger traffic has recorded a growth rate of 10.5 per cent per annum. Road transport fleet has increased by 6.8 per cent per annum in respect of trucks and 5.4 per cent in respect of buses. The road net work has expanded at an annual rate of 4.5 per cent. Shipping tonnage has increased at the rate of 11.0 per cent and coastal shipping at 1.4 per cent per annum.

8.3 Despite an impressive growth in the spread of the transport network, a large number of villages in the country still lack road connections. It has been estimated that at the end of the Sixth Plan, about thirty six per cent of the villages remained without a road link and around sixty-five per cent without all-weather access roads.

8.4 Notwithstanding the continued expansion that has taken place, the capacity of the entire transportation system including the road network continues to fall short of demand for transportation. Capacity constraints have been felt in several areas. These constraints in the Railways have led to movement of bulk commodities like coal, over long distances, by road, at high cost to the economy. The road system too is under heavy strain. Inadequacy of capacity and substandard infrastructure have led to excessive transit delays, fuel wastage and higher operating costs. Seaborne traffic also has faced constraints, as port infrastructure modernisation has lagged behind changes in shipping technology and cargo handling methods. Several ports suffer from draft limitations as well. These are some of the areas where position would be rectified to the extent feasible in the Seventh Five Year Plan.

8.5 Rail and Road Transport are the dominant modes and would remain so in the foreseeable future. There has, however, been a marked shift in their relative shares in the total traffic. The share of road traffic in the total traffic has been increasing over the years; whereas in 1950-51, it accounted for eleven per cent of freight traffic and twenty-six per cent of passenger traffic, it went up to thirty-four per cent and sixty per cent respectively by 1970-71. In the more recent years, the share of road is estimated to have increased further. This continuing shift is essentially attributable on the one hand to the rail capacity constraints and on the other, to the extension of road network and the inherent advantage of road in handling non-bulk traffic. Ideally, the Railways should have adequate capacity to clear all train and wagon load traffic for long and medium leads particularly for bulk commodities while the road transport would cater essentially for small lot short haul traffic for which it is the more efficient mode.

8.6 Certain spatial demographic and economic features greatly influence the pattern of transport demand in the country. Urban population and economic activities are concentrated in metropolitan areas and a few other important cities; major coal and iron ore deposits are in the eastern part of the country, the region where most of the steel and heavy engineering industries are also located. The corridors connecting these limited number of centres thus handle massive volumes of traffic. On the rail network alone, the quadrilateral connecting metropolitan cities and its diagonals carry sixty-six per cent of the total freight traffic and fifty per cent of the total rail passenger traffic. The road traffic density on these routes is equally high. In the years to come, it may no longer be possible to service the traffic on these corridors and a feasible solution would lie in development of alternative routes as also balanced spread of economic activity in the country.201

8.7 The transport infrastructure is burdened with over-aged and obsolete assets and the backlog of replacements has now assumed enormous proportions. In the Railways, about a quarter of the total length of the track is overdue for renewal and equally substantial track kilometrage would become overaged in the Plan period. Nearly eighty per cent of the equipment in the workshops and sheds needs to be replaced while a large proportion of the rolling stock has already out-lived its economic life. Nearly eighty per cent of the road transport fleet of State Road Transport Corporations, forty-seven per cent of the shipping tonnage and more than half of the inland water transport flotilla would come up for replacement in the course of the Seventh Plan. As for Civil Aviation, around thirty-three per cent of the aircraft would have outlived their codal life. The magnitude of the replacements is, however, such that it is not possible to fully rectify the position during the course of a single plan period. Hence a phased programme of replacements spread over two five year plan periods would be adopted for the purpose of planning transportation investments.

8.8 The massive scale of replacements, however, provides an opportunity for the introduction of new technologies and the much-desired modernisation of infrastructure. In fact, in several areas, upgrading goes hand in hand with replacements. Accordingly, replacements would be vigorously pursed in the Seventh Plan.

8.9 The transport infrastructure also suffers from want of adequate maintenance. Not only are the maintenance facilities inadequate in relation to needs, the problem is further compounded by inadequacy of funds. Thus on account of poor condition of roads, enormous avoidable costs, are incurred for instance, in the excessive use of diesel oil, and repair and maintenance of vehicles. As such, replacements and rehabilitation along with maintenance would be accorded priority over net additions to capacity as a more economic means of increasing the throughput of the system.

8.10 As in other areas, there is preponderance of outmoded technologies in the transport sector, both for locomotion and maintenance of assets. These technologies are wasteful, inefficient and can no longer be relied upon to cope with the growing transport demand. There is thus an urgent need for adoption of new technologies to raise the traffic volume and improve the traffic flows with lower unit cost of operation. Care should be exercised in the introduction of new technologies for the reasons that, capital assets have a long physical life.

8.11 In the transport sector energy has special significance not only because it is one of the major users of energy but also because different transport modes use different forms of energy with varying intensities and efficiencies. In the inter-modal allocation of traffic, this factor assumes added importance in the context of the energy constraints. Thus efforts would be made to develop rail capacity in view of its energy efficient character. Movement of commodities and passengers over short distance is generally more economical by road. Transport modes which are relatively more energy efficient but not developed so far, such as coastal shipping, ropeways, pipelines transportation as well as those dependent on animal energy would have to be utilised.

8.12 Measures also need to be taken to improve fuel efficiency of the diesel-based road transport system. This would necessitate improvements in vehicle design, introduction of truck-trailer combination, multi-axled vehicles, installation of speed control devices, improvements in the condition of roads, etc.

8.13 The Railways need to phase out steam locomotives as early as possible preferably not later than 2000 A.D. The pace of electrification on the railway network would be accelerated for conservation of liquid fuels and more efficient energy utilisation.

8.14 The public transport system requires to be expanded and strengthened, being much more energy efficient than personalised motor transport. Efforts would be made to introduce electricity-based mass transit systems in major cities.

8.15 Population growth and economic expansion would lead to a substantial build-up of transport demand in the years to come. There is, however, a limit to which simple expansion of the system would be able to meet future increases in traffic. Even such expansion would be constrained by resources. Accordingly, it will be necessary to minimise transport co-efficients through interrelated policy measures involving inter alia greater dispersal of industries and balanced regional development. Other measures in this regard would include beneficiation of minerals and ores and pit-head thermal generation of electricity apart from increased emphasis on development of other energy sources, e.g. hydro and nuclear with little implications for transportation system. Integrated land use and transportation planning holds promise to reduce pressure on transport facilities. It is particularly important for small and medium size cities, which are still far from reaching levels of congestion and saturation of the metropolitan cities.

8.16 Transport planning involves systematic projection of traffic demand and its allocation on the basis of relative costs between different modes of transport. However, for this purpose data gaps happen to pose more difficult problems in the case of road transport and inland water transport than of rail, coastal shipping and air services. As regards the resource cost on transport services, hardly any studies are being undertaken on a continuous basis to make commodity and modewise estimates. This inhibits identification of least cost solutions to meet the specific transport requirements. In order to remove these shortcomings, it is proposed to set up an Inter-Disciplinary Group on Transport in the Planning Commission which will carry out systematic transport studies on a unified basis.

8.17 Though perhaps necessary in earlier stages of development, vertical integration within the transport sub-sector becomes uneconomic and inefficient in the long-run. For example, the policy followed by the Railways in respect of equipment production or Oil and Natural Gas Commission in acquiring and operating off-shore supply vessels as also other specialised crafts or helicopter services needs to be reoriented towards achieving greater specialisation in the services as well as production of equipment and other inputs. Such specialisation will yield substantial advantages of division of labour and also benefit certain transport organisations as for example, Indian shipping companies which have suffered due to the world wide recession. Likewise, Railways should concentrate increasingly on their main function of providing transport services rather than manufacture equipment and rolling stock for which adequate facilities are now available in the country.

8.18 Lack of multi-modalism is one of the weaknesses of our transport system. Containerisation provides an excellent opportunity to improve transport linkages. Special emphasis would, therefore, be laid on the formulation of investment programmes for Containerisation of inland transport. Inter-modal container freight stations would be set up at selected centres in the country. These freight stations will handle both inland and export cargo.

8.19 The major thrust for augmenting the transport capacity to meet the expected demand has to be on the basis of improved productivity of the existing facilities through technological improvements as well as improvement of management practices rather than build up of additional capacity. There is a substantial scope for improvements in the productivity of assets as well as manpower in respect of different modes of transport. In the Seventh Plan, the investment programmes would be designed to attain improved efficiency and productivity.

8.20 In view of huge costs entailed in the construction and maintenance of an efficient transport system, cooperation and coordination between the public and private sectors would be encouraged and improved wherever feasible and desirable. For the public sector investments, additional resources would also need to be generated by suitable pricing policies so that larger segments of the Plan are met through internal resources. To this end, commercial viability of different sub-sectors would be an important segment of policy formulation.

8.21 Keeping in view what has been stated above, important policy objectives in the Seventh Plan would be:—

  1. To replace the overaged assets in a phased manner and to ensure that in future arrears in this regard are not allowed to build up;
  2. To modernise the transport infrastructure on the basis of new technologies;
  3. To ensure that the existing capacity is effectively maintained, that such maintenance is provided for and that provisions so made are in fact used for the purpose;
  4. To maximise the utitlisation of the existing assets through higher productivity to be achieved through technological improvements as also more efficient management and operation;
  5. To give priority to the completion of essential on-going works which add to the capacity of the system;
  6. To conserve energy, particularly, diesel to the maximum extent possible;
  7. To give special attention to improve accessibility to villages;
  8. To reduce transport effort by inter-related policy measures like dispersal of industries, balanced regional development and rational land use planning;
  9. To avoid sectoral mis-matches and duplication through integrated planning of mineral, industrial, energy and transportation development.
  10. To promote multi-modal transport operation through introduction of container services etc;
  11. To have a cost based price structure and to improve the financial viability of the under-takings.


8.22 Indian Railways are the nation's largest single undertaking with a capital investment of around Rs. 9500 crores and a total staff strength of about 1.7 million. The route length of rail network exceeds 61,600 kilometres, including some 13,000 kilometers with multiple tracks. Broad gauge makes up 53 per cent of the total route kilometrage; metre gauge 40 per cent and narrow gauge accounting for the remaining 7 per cent. The broad gauge system handles 88.3 per cent of freight tonne kilometres and about 81.4 per cent of passenger kilometres, the corresponding share of metre gauge being 11.6 per cent and 17.9 per cent. The share of narrow gauge is minimal. As yet, 6440 route kilometres have been electrified, representing 20 per cent of broad gauge and 1 per cent of metre gauge route length. Rail routes have expanded by 8065 kilometres since 1950-51, while 3,065 kilometres were converted from MG to BG. As on March 1984, the motive power fleet consisted to 2805 diesel, 1194 electric and 6212 steam locomotives. The coaching stock included 52 diesel rail cars, about 2850 electric multiple units and about 27,300 coaches. The freight rolling stock comprised of 3,75,000 units or 5,28,000 in terms of 4-wheelers. Over the years, the proportion of bogie wagons fitted with centre buffer couplers and higher pay loads has been increased with a view to improving the carrying capacity of trains.

8.23 Steam traction was the principal mode of locomotion until 1953. Since then it is being progressively displaced by diesel and electric traction primarily for haulage of freight traffic. Electric traction now accounts for 30 per cent of the total gross tonne kilometres of freight traffic with the share of diesel traction being around 65 per cent. As regards passenger traffic, steam traction still accounts for a significant share, 27 per cent on BG and 63 per cent on MG.

8.24 There are 46 maintenance workshops set up in the latter half of 19th and early 20th century. The equipment, including machines tools, in these workshops is by and large overdue for replacement.


8.25 In the period since inception of planning, freight traffic has increased at an average annual rate of 3.1 per cent in terms of originating tonnage, and at a some what faster rate of 4.3 per cent in terms of tonne kilometres due to increase in average length of haulage. These long term averages, however, do not give an idea of the changing trends since the early 1970s. Freight traffic grew by 1.1 per cent (originatng tonnes) and 2.3 per cent (tonne kilometres) over the 10 years ending in 1980. In the Sixth Plan, however, growth at 3.95 per cent (tonnes) and 3.0 per cent (tonne kilometres)—picked up again, with the total originating tonnage increasing from 217.8 million tonnes to 264.4 million tonnes.

8.26 The average lead of traffic has gradually increased over time from 470 Kms. in 1950-51 to 690 Kms. in 1984-85, peaking at 720 kilometres in 1980-81. The freight traffic carried by the Railways during the selected years since 1950-51 is presented in Table 8.2.

Freight Traffic-Railways


originating tonnes

Tonne Kms.

Avg, Lead (Kms) NTKMs Wagon Per Day
Revenue Non-Rev.
Total Revenue

Non-Rev. (Millions)

Total Revenue Total BG MG
1950-51 73.2 19.8 93.0 37565 6552 44117 513 470 710 304
1960-61 119.8 36.4 156.2 72333 15347 87680 603 561 998 405
1970-71 167.9 28.6 196.5 110696 16662 127358 659 648 908 524
1979-80 193.1 24.7 217.8 144559 11436 155995 740 716 972 534
1984-85 236.3 28.1 264.4 173060 9490 182550 732 690 1175 535

8.27 Seven bulk commodities (coal, steel and steel materials, iron ore for export, foodgrains, petroleum products, cement and fertilizers) made up about 80 per cent of the total originating traffic and 75 per cent of total

Composition of Originating Freight Traffic (Million Tonnes)

  1960-61 1970-71 1979-80 1984-85
Commodities tonnage percentge share tonnage percent age share tonnage percent age share tonnage percent age share
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1. Inltigraled Steel Plants                
(i) Finished products from steel plants 3.8 2.4 6,3 3.2 7.2 3.3 8.2 3.1
(11) Raw material inputs 10.5 6.7 16.1 8.2 20.7 9.5 22.6 8.6
Total 14.3 9.1 22.4 11.4 27.9 12.8 30.8 11.7
Coal (including coal for railways) 50.4 32.3 64.2 32.7 75.8 34.9 101.9 38.5
Iron ore for export 2.6 1.7 9.8 5.0 9.3 4.3 11.1 4.2
Cement 6.5 4.2 11.0 5.6 10.0 4.6 16.9 6.4
Foodgrains 12.7 8.1 15.1 7.7 18.4 8.4 20.7 7.8
Fertilizers 1.4 0.9 4.7 2.4 8.2 3.8 12.2 4.6
POL Products 4.7 3.0 8.9 4.5 14.3 6.6 18.2 6.9
Other Goods 46.6 29.8 48.2 24,4 43.0 19.8 34.9 13.2
Railway materials 17.0 10.9 12.2 6.3 10.9 4.8 17.7 6.7
Grand Total 156.2 100.0 196.5 100.0 217.8 100.0 264.4 100.0

8.28 It will be seen that over the years, the volume and share of coal in the total traffic carried by the Railways has been increasing mostly at the expense of general goods traffic.

8.29 Over time, the growth of passenger traffic, too, has been accoumpanied by significant shifts in its composition. Data relating to passenger traffic, both non-subsurban and suburban, during the selected years is presented in Table 8.4

Growth of Passenger Traffic
Originating Passengers (Million) Passenger Kilometres (Billion)
Year Suburban Non- Total Suburban Non- Total
  suburban   Suburban  
1950-51 412 872 1284 6.5 60.0 66.5
1960-61 680 914 1494 11.8 65.9 77.7
1970-71 1219 1212 2431 23.0 95.1 118.1
1979-80 1903 1602 3505 38.7 159.9 198.6
1984-85 1908 1472 3380 44.2 184.5 228.7

8.30 Since 1950-51 non-suburban passenger traffic increased by 1.6 per cent per annum (passengers) and 3.4 per cent (passengers kilometres). The corresponding annual growth rates in the seventies were 3.1 per cent and 5.9 per cent. In the Sixth Plan, however, the position reversed, when an average annual decline of 1.6 per cent (passengers) was recorded. But, traffic in terms of passenger kilometres continued to increase though at a somewhat slow rate of 2.9 per cent. Yet, characteristically, long distance travel by fast mail and express trains on the broad gauge continued to record by far the most rapid growth. The metre gauge segment of the network continued to lose traffic, on an average by 3.7 per cent annually primarily due to conversion of sections from metre to broad gauge.

8.31 The growth of the commuter traffic by suburban services has always outpaced the inter-city traffic. Thus, it recorded an average annual expansion of 4.6 per cent (passenger) and 5.8 per cent (passenger kms.). In 1970s, the growth accelerated at 5.2 per cent (passengers) and 5.9 per cent (passengers kilometres). In the Sixth Plan period these trends weakened and there was a marginal increase in numbers; the passenger kilometres increasing annually by 2.7 per cent.

8.32 The decline in passenger traffic, both suburban and non-suburban in the recent years is mainly attributable to the rationalisation of fare structure designed, inter alia, to discourage short distance travel by rail.

8.33 In the Sixth Plan against an outlay of Rs. 5100 crores, the expenditure was around Rs. 6573 crores. As for the implementation of the Plan, the performance during the years 1981-82 and 1982-83, in particular, was creditable and set pace for future development. With the wagon fleet unchanged in numbers, 47 million tonnes of additional traffic was carried. Target utilisation norms were not only achieved but were higher than the targets in the case of wagon utilisation. Overaged wagons which had plagued the system were phased out. Fares and freight rates were rationalised and brought more or less in line with costs. Contribution to Depreciation Reserve Fund was substantially stepped up from Rs. 125 crores in the Fifth Plan to Rs. 850 crores in the later years of the Sixth Plan. However, in the last two years of the Plan, plan priorities were somewhat distorted as the Railways introduced a large number of passenger trains leading to diversion of motive power capacity to passenger services and erosion of freight movement capacity on critical sections.

8.34 The position in respect of procurement of rolling stock, track renewals and electrification during the Sixth plan is resumed in Table 8.5

Rolling stock acquisition, Track Renewals and Electrification in the Sixth Plan

  Target Anticipated
1. Procurement of rolling stock
(a) Wagons (lakh in 4 wheeler 1.00 0.72
(b) Locomotives (Nos.) 780 950
(c) Coaches (Nos.) 5680 5000
(d) Electrical Multiple Units (Nos.) 606 690
2. Track Renewals (Kms.) 14000 9200
3. Electrification (Kms.) 2800 1522

8.35 In order to reconcile resource constraints and operational needs, the procurement of locomotive was stepped up but the procurement of wagons and coaches had to be curtailed. The physical targets for track renewals could not be achieved in spite of substantial step up in the outlays from Rs. 500 crores to Rs. 1075 crores in the Plan, mainly due to steep increase in the input prices, particularly in case of steel. The electrification programme, too, could not be achieved in full because of inadequate funding.

8.36 The Sixth Plan envisaged demand for rail freight transportat around 309 originating million tonnes/220 billion tonne kilometres. In the mid-term review this target was revised to 280-285 million tonnes, further reduced to 270 million tonnes at the time of formulation of Annual Plan, on the basis of capacity available with the Railways.

8.37 The rail transport capacity had from time to time lagged behind the requirements of the economy in the past mainly on account of inadequate investments. This fact had been highlighted by three high powered committees, the National Transport Policy Committee, the Rail Tariff Enquiry Committee and the Railway Reforms Committee. Several indicators point towards persisting underinvestment in the Railways. One such indicator, for example, is the ageing of fixed assets of the system. Another is the capacity constraints experienced on critical routes. As a consequence of insufficient investments, replacement of overaged assets now accounts for a large share of the total plan outlays. Besides, substantial funds are consumed by projects which do not directly generate new transport capacity, like most of the new lines, or metropolitan transport projects. For instance, in the Sixth Plan only 30 per cent of the total outlay was utilised for capacity generating projects, a substantially smaller share than the previous Plans.

Demand for rail transport during the Seventh Plan

8.38 The demand for rail freight traffic has been fixed around 340 million tonnes (originating traffic) for 1989-90 on the basis of inter-sectoral consistency exercises. The approximate product mix of projected demand is given in Table 8.6.

TABLE: 8.6
Demand for freight Traffic

1984-85 1989-90
Commodity Originating Tonnes (Million) %age of total traffic Originating Tonnes (Million) %age of total traffic
1. Integrated Steel Plants  
(i) Finished Products from steel plants (Pig-iron for sale and mild
steel) 8.2 3.1 11.0 3.2
(ii) Raw material for steel plants other than coal 22.6 8.6 28.0 8.2
Total 30.8 11.7 39.0 11.4
2. Coal 101.9 38.5 152.0 44.7
3. Iron Ore for export 11.1 4.2 12.0 3.5
4. Cement 16.9 6.4 23.0 6.8
5. Foodgrains 20.7 7.8 24.0 7.1
6. Fertilizers 12.2 4.6 15.0 4.4
7. POL products 18.2 6.9 22.0 6.5
8. Other goods 34.9 13.2 38.0 11.2
9. Railway materials 17.7 6.7 15.0 4.4
Grand Total 264.4 100.0 340.0 100.0

8.39 Compared to the traffic in 1984-85, substantial increase is expected in the movement of coal, from around 102 million tonnes in 1984-85 to 152 million tonnes in 1989-90. The major increase in the demand for coal is expected from the thermal power stations. Increase in traffic would also be generated by steel plants, cement, foodgrains and petroleum products. It will, however, become necessary to review the poistion at the time of formulation of the Annual Plans on the basis of development of the major sectors contributing to demand for rail freight services.

Passenger Traffic

8.40 Given the scarcity of resources and priority to be accorded to freight traffic, it will be necessary for"the Railways to contain the demand for passenger traffic with the aid of an appropriate pricing policy. For the Seventh Plan, therefore, increase in non-suburban passenger traffic is assumed at 2 per cent per annum only. Bulk of this increase, relates to long distance travel, as the policy of shedding short-distance traffic would be vigorously pursued. In the case of suburban traffic the major thrust would be to reduce excessive overcrowding on commuter services and to cater to only minimal increase in traffic.

Capacity Available

8.41 At the end of the Sixth Five Year Plan the Railways had a capacity to carry around 275 million tonnes of originating freight traffic on the basis of the targetted norm of wagon utilisation. The capacity assessment of the system necessarily has to contend with certain inherent characteristics of this mode of transport. Common physical assets are made use of to provide different types of transport services like freight and passenger and any change in the mix alters the output of the system. Again, a considerable portion of the assets is location specific and can not be transferred in keeping with the changes in demand for services.

8.42 The capacity of the railway system would be developed to deal with the projected level of traffic. The need for additional funds to create matching capacity would be reviewed at the time of Annual Plans. In fact the outlays for the Railways will be kept under continuous review so as to ensure that transport bottlenecks do not hamper the growth of the national economy.

State of the System

8.43 Before specifically taking up the Seventh Plan, it would be useful to have a synoptic view of the present state of the system, which is outlined below:

(i) Transport capacity has now reached a plateau and additional output is possible only on the basis of adequate investments to increase capacity and improve productivity. Huge arrears of replacement of overaged assets have accumulated. There is a very large portfolio of ongoing projects and many of them will not add to the capacity in the required areas. The rolling stock designs are outmoded and maintenance practices in several areas are based on obsolete technology. The system is beset with excess manpower and manpower development has not kept pace with technology upgradation. The precentage of ineffective rolling stock far exceeds prescribed levels' Above all maintenance infrastructure is inadequate in relation to the available rolling stock fleet.

(ii) Bulk of the freight and passenger traffic is concentrated on the quadrilateral formed by the four metropolitan cities and their diagonals. Thus, 15000 Kms. constitute heavily travelled routes over which average traffic density exceeds 20 million gross tonne Kms. per route kilometre per year. Moreover, incremental traffic has taken place mainly on these sections. The future origin-destination pattern is unlikely to deviate signifi-canty from this trend.

(iii) The Railways ability to generate their own resources for growth and replacement has not shown any improvement. In fact, increasingly higher operating ratios are a matter of concern.

8.44 Given the above scenario the solutions may have to be found along the following lines:—

(i) Replacement of Overaged Assets: The magnitude and scale of the replacements are such as cannot conceivably, be rectified within the next Plan period. A phased programme will accordingly be worked out. Moreover, replacement and modernisation would be dovetailed.

(ii) Modernisation and Technological Upgradation: There is preponderence of obsolete assets and outmoded technology in the Railways. The immediate concern would, therefore, be to modernise the present network and upgrade it to meet present and future demands. With the adoption of advanced technologies, it should be possible to make railways faster, safer and cheaper to maintain. Modernisation of the track structure and geometry to take higher axle loads and reduction in the renewal cycle would be pursued through a phased programme with priority accorded to the main trunk routes particularly in sections where track renewals are visualised in the Plan. Electrification programme would be carried out on high density routes on continuous network basis. Simultaneously, these sections would be upgraded to sustain heavier and speedier trains so as to get full benefit from electrification. Real-time operation information system would be introduced on the basis of latest technology advancement in this field. The communication network would be developed and the system design would be determined with a long-term perspective in view and to the extent feasible, integrated with the national communication network. Use of solid state in interlocking systems and computer-controlled systems in signalling are some of the areas of immense potential and possibilities and their adoption would be pursued. Introduction of heavy duty freight trains of 4500-9000 tonnes would be given priority and necessary infrastructure would be developed on indentified routes. Passenger service operations would be upgraded and modernised with emphasis on fast inter-city services, an area where the Railways are the best suited transport mode. Satellite passenger terminals would be designed with focus on futuristic use. Proposed upgradation of technology in various fields will involve significant changes both in numbers and composition of the work force and to deal with this development the existing training facilities would be augmented.

(iii) Development of Rapid Handling Terminals: It is estimated that 40-50 per cent of the average turnround time of wagons is spent at the freight terminals. Development of terminals would therefore, be a priority area for reducing wagon detention and improving their utilisation. About 10-15 per cent of the 5000 Railway terminals handle 90 per cent of the traffic. Such terminals handling large volume of traffic would be developed on priority basis. At the same time major users like coal mines, steel plants, power stations need to be persuaded to modernise and update facilities at their terminals.

(iv) Improved Maintenance: The percentage of ineffective rolling stock is substantially higher than prescribed levels partly because of the inadequacy in the maintenance infrastructure which is burdened with overaged and obsolete plant and machinery and partly because of increasing proportion of ageing assets. Thus, both the quality of preventive maintenance and output leave much to be desired. Maintenance practices would be re-oriented from time based to predictive maintenance. In particular, the number of workshops would be reduced, uni-activity workshops introduced in place of multi-activity units and maintenance procedures evolved on the basis of composite rakes of wagons/coaches. Likewise, effective unit-exchange system of maintenance would be introduced, while online wagon maintenance would be adjusted to bulk mode of operations.

(v) Traction Policy: Steam traction is inefficient, both from the point of view of operations and energy consumption. Most of the steam locomotives are now relegated to inferior services, and are thus a drag on the system. To improve service capability, the Railways need to accelerate the programme of conversion from steam to diesel and electric traction, and completely phase out steam locomotives latest by the year 2000. This, in turn, would release about 9 million tonnes of capacity presently used to carry coal for the Railways.

(vi) Review of On-going Projects: The on-going schemes particularly of new lines and gauge conversion would be reviewed to pursue projects which either add to the capacity or provide alternative routes, or else are project linked. Proposals for new schemes would be considered with extreme care.

The subject of gauge conversions was extensively examined by the National Transport Policy Committee which came to the conclusion that with appropriate steps to optimise the Metre Gauge system, it will be possible for the Railways to satisfy the increasing traffic demand on these sections. The NTPC, therefore, recommended adoption of a cautious approach in respect of conversion, restricting conversions only to serve as alternative routes in respect of saturated sections. The Railways have in the past neglected their Metre Gauge network. It is, therefore, necessary to optimise the capacity on the MG sections rather than undertake more expensive gauge conversions. At the same time, the number of transhipment points would be reduced and mechanised handling introduced to ensure smooth flow of goods.

Traffic facilities like doubling of routes which add to the capacity would be vigorously pursued. The priority areas in this regared are the heavy density quadrilateral and diagonal sections of the system.

A long term perspective plan, for the expansion of the railway network would be drawn up. With the existing trunk routes reaching saturation levels, the traditional approach of additional trackage on these routes would be given up and instead alternative routes developed. This would enable links that could be shorter, thereby reducing the transport effort and costs, and also simultaneously lead to the opening up of new areas. Such an approach would thus combine the dual advantages of increasing Railway's capacity and opening new areas.

8.45 In view of constraint of resources, the plan programme would accord top priority to replacement of overaged assets, maintenance of existing assets and completion of essential on-going projects which add to transport capacity. Emphasis would also be given to investments required for technological upgradation and modernisation.

8.46 Besides investment priorities, there is imperative need to observe operational priority as a whole and in this regard Railways would accord preference to movement of freight traffic over passenger services till the system has built up adequate capacity to deal with both segments of traffic.

8.47 Apart from investment priorities, certain other important aspects need to be considered during the Seventh Plan. These are highlighted in the subsequent paragraphs.

Pricing and Service

8.48 Prices would be kept generally in line with the operating costs. The price mechanism, besides, would be used to contain the demand for passenger traffic to the desired level assessed on the basis of resource costs. At the same time, it is imperative to reduce working expenses which were as high as 96.9% of the revenue in 1984-85, improve productivity and provide better quality of service. If such measures are not taken, the railway system may not remain viable in the foreseeable future.


8.49 In the past, research activity has largely been confined to in-house efforts. While the Research Designs and Standards Organisation of the Railways has played a role in standardisation and indigenisation, its performance in the sphere of research and development towards modern technology and up-grading of imported technologies has been meagre. In this context, its role needs to be redefined so as to concentrate on design standardisation and applied research related to railway operations, maintenance and service engineering. For development of advanced generation of rolling stock and other equipment, it is necessary to plan for centres for advanced railway technology. It is also necessary to establish linkages with CSIR, Universities and major research institutions in the country. A complete transformation in the composition of manpower in the R.D.S.O. is an urgent necessity so as to equip the organisation to perform its legitimate functions effectively.

Multi-Modal Transportation

8.50 The approach of the Railways towards the development of a multi-modal transport system has been ambivalent. Despite experience of several years, domestic container services have not made much head-way. In the years to come, inter-modal transport has a vital role to play and the Railways have to make use of this opportunity to transform their less than wagon load operations. With progressive containerisation of import and export cargo, it would be necessary to integrate domestic and ISO container services. The development of Inland Container Depots needs to be conceived as integrated depots for handling both domestic and ISO containers.

Productivity Targets

8.51 For the system to survive, it is necessary to lay emphasis on improved productivity. In the Seventh Plan, therefore, higher norms of wagon utilisation at 1350 NTKMs per wagon day on B.G. sections and 650 NTKMs on M.G. sections are laid down as against approximately 1175 NTKMs and 535 NTKMs, respectively obtained in 1984-85. In respect of electric locomotives, an improvement of 10 per cent on freight services and of 30 per cent on passenger services over the utilisation levels achieved in 1982-83 are envisaged. In respect of diesel locomotives, an improvement by 10 per cent on freight services and by 15 per cent on passenger services will be aimed at. As for coaching stock, an improvement by 10 per cent in the output of coaches on B.G. sections over the levels achieved in 1982-83 is suggested.

Outlays and Programmes

8.52 Consistent with the objectives and policy thrusts enumerated above a provision of Rs. 12334.30 crores is proposed during the Seventh Plan for the Railways. The Plan head-wise break-up of the outlays is given in Table 8.7.

Table: 8.7
Railways—Plan Headwise Outlays
(Rs. in crores)

1. Rolling stock , 4290.30
2. Workshops and sheds  
3. Machinery and plant 1200.00
4. Track Renewals 2500.00
5. Bridge Works 284.00
6. Line capacity works 1300.00
7. Signalling and Safety 400.00
8. Freight Operation's Information System 400.00
9. Electrification 830.00
10. Other Electrical works 80.00
11. New Lines 350.00
12. Staff Quaters  
13. Staff Welfare
14. User's amenities 175.00
15. Other specified works
16. Railway Research 25.00
17. Inventories 100.00
18. Metropolitan Transport Projects 400.00
Total 12334.30

8.53 Some of the important features of the physical programme are indicated below:

(i) It is proposed to acquire 96000 Wagons (in terms of 4-Wheelers), 6970 passenger coaches, 950 electrical multiple units and 1235 diesel/electrical locomotives during the Seventh Plan. This level of acquisition will suffice to phase out overaged rolling stock except passenger coaches.

(ii) 19,000-21,000 Kms. of track renewal will be undertaken during the Seventh Plan period with priority accorded to renewal works on high density corridors. Use of wooden sleepers would be avoided and instead concrete sleepers be used.

(iii) 3400 Kms.of track would be electrified with priority accorded for electrification of high denisty routes. (iv) The capacity for the manufacture of passenger coaches, EMUs and electric locomotives would be increased, communication network would be upgraded and computer based freight information system will be brought into operation.


8.54 Since the country's economy is still largely agrarian in character and the settlement pattern is rural oriented, roads constitute a critical element of the transportation infrastructure. Road construction and maintenance generate sizeable employment opportunities, a factor that has assumed considerable importance with demographic expansion and the growth of the labour force. Better roads also help achieve fuel economy and improve the overall productivity of the Road Transport sector. Road development will thus continue to play an important role in the Seventh Five Year Plan.


8.55 Since the inception of planning, the road network has expanded from 4 lakh kms to 17.7 lakh kms, or on an average by about 4.5 per cent per year. The National Highways encompass a road length of 31,710 kms and carry nearly a third of the total road traffic. The rural road network now connects 64 per cent of the villages, though not with all weather roads. In the Sixth Plan 2,687 kms. of roads were upgraded as National Highways and 2.38 lakh kms. of different types of roads were added to the road grid. About 18,000 villages were connected with roads under Minimum Needs Programme as against the target of 20,000. The work on upgradation of National Highways, which was continued, comprised construction of 166 kms of missing links, 4224 kms widening of two lanes, 90 kms of four-laning, 50 by-passes, 7 missing major bridges and 467 minor bridges.

8.56 An outlay of Rs. 830 crores was provided in the Sixth Plan under the Central Sector roads programme. The expenditure however, was about Rs. 760 crores, the shortfall occurring largely as a result of cutbacks in allocations.

8.57 Given the constraint of resources, the overall development of road network in the country has been satisfactory but a lot more needs to be done to improve the road system. About 36 per cent of the villages in the country are still without any road connection, and as much as 65 per cent without an all-weather road. Only 47 per cent of the road length in the country is provided with a proper surface. Besides, the pavement width of most of the road length is only single lane. Even in respect of National Highways, 30 per cent of the length has a single-lane road pavement. The grid as a whole suffers from serious deficiencies and there is a growing mismatch between traffic needs and available infrastructure, thus resulting in severe capacity constraints, delay, congestion, fuel wastage and higher vehicle-operating costs. It has been estimated that fuel wastage due to bad roads alone costs the country nearly Rs. 500 crores a year, the loss due to extra wear and tear of tyres, spare parts and other components being many times larger.

8.58 Hitherto, the highway planning strategy had to contend with stage construction, adoption of a small time horizon, use of low-cost specifications and employment of labour intensive techniques. While these policies served the country well when the traffic volume was low, the cumulative effect of deferred rehabilitation and modernisation is now being acuetly felt; and the shortage of funds for maintenance of assets already created has further aggravated the situation. The major thrust of the programme in the Seventh Five Year Plan should, therefore, be to consolidate the gains so far achieved, properly maintain existing assets and initiate steps for upgradation and modernisation of the road system.

Seventh Plan Objectives

8.59 The following are the broad objectives for road development in the Seventh Plan:

  1. Progressive removal of the present deficiencies in the National Highway, State Highway and Major District Road Systems, and thus achieve consolidation and upgradation rather than continued expansion of the road network.
  2. Continued emphasis on provision of roads to villages so as to achieve the MNP targets by 1990;.
  3. Energy conservation.
  4. Adoption of measures to preserve and enhance environmental quality of highways.
  5. Reduction in road accident rates.
  6. Improvement in the road system to bring about better productivity in the transport sector.
  7. To plan for a new generation of roads on high density corridors with provision of divided carriage-way facilities.
  8. To use road construction programme as a means of generating employment.

8.60 The above mentioned objectives would be achieved by emphasis in the following areas.

Upgradation and Rehabilitation

8.61 Rehabilitation of the present road system through various upgradation programmes would receive top priority. This can result in greater productivity, faster travel and energy conservation. The capacity of the present road system would be enlarged wherever traffic flows reach high levels that create congestion and impair efficiency. The present pavement structure and composition have been found to be extremely deficient where the loads are heavy, leading to poor riding quality and unsafe operations. Such stretches would be identified and a systematic programme of strengthening and pavement rehabilitation would be initiated. The deficiencies in the geometries would be removed concurrently when rehabilitation programmes are taken up.

Missing Links and Structures

8.62 There are a few missing links in the arterial route network which result in longer travel length on substandard roads. High priority would be accorded to the construction of such missing links. Besides the missing links, there are several missing, weak or sub-mersible bridges on trunk routes. Construction of these bridges would also receive high priority.

Modernisation of technology

8.63 Though the present practice of use of local materials and low-cost specifications will have to be continued in future as well, a time has come when the modernisation of construction methods cannot be deferred. Selective upgradation of road making equipment and construction practices can achieve high standards of road quality demanded by the modern generation of road vehicles.

Preservation of environment

8.64 Large programmes of road construction have an adverse effect on the environment and eco-system unless careful preventive measures are planned in initial stages. Measures such as prevention of ribbon development, provision of wayside amenities, landscaping and drainage of landslide-prone areas would be accorded due priority.

Maintenance of Assets

8.65 In the past years, the maintenance of roads has not received adequate attention, primarily because of lack of funds. During the Seventh Plan this neglect would be remedied by according a high priority to maintenance through normal repairs, periodic renewals and rehabilitation. Relatively modest investments on maintenance can, in fact, postpone costly strengthening programmes and yield returns by way of fuel savings.

Institutional Improvements

8.66 The thrust towards modernisation of the road sector requires adequate back up in the form of computerisation introduction of a Management Information System and planning and monitoring agencies. Continued R and D effort will also have to be made to strengthen the data base, to develop appropraite construction specification and techniques, to bring about energy conservation and to impart training to staff.

Augmentation of resources

8.67 To augment plan resources, the highway sector will have to look for non-conventional sources of funds and private participation in road construction would be encouraged. Efforts would also be made to earmark for the roads sector the additional revenue that can be mobilised through a surcharge on HSD used for transport operations.

National Highways

8.68 The National Highway system is the primary road grid and is the direct responsibility of the Centre. Though only two per cent of the length of the total road system, the National Highways carry nearly a third of the total road traffic. The present system suffers from a variety of inadequacies and deficiencies requiring substantial corrective investments. The design methodology would be changed and would incorporate not only progressive mechanisation but also relevant economics of the life cycle of the pavement and heavy load construction specifications.

State Highways and Major District Roads

8.69 The State Highways and Major District Roads form the secondary road system and take care of collector and distributor functions. The deficiencies in the system would be progressively removed with accent on pavement rehabilitation and augmentation of capacity. The programme would aim at the provision of road linkages to District Headquarters and Sub-Divisional Headquarters.

Rural Roads

8.70 The Minimum Needs Programme for rural road construction envisages linking of all villages with population of 1500 and above and 50 per cent of the villages with population between 1000-1500 by the end of the Seventh Plan. In the case of hilly, coastal, tribal and desert areas which are sparsely populated, somewhat less exacting norms have been laid down. About 24,000 villages would need to be connected with roads during the Seventh Plan to achieve the national norms.

8.71 Rural roads are also constructed under other programmes such as the Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP), National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) and Command Area Development (CAD). A number of organisations at present handle the road construction and maintenance resulting in duplication of effort, lack of uniformity and imbalanced development of network. There is a need to unify the organisational structure for rural road planning, construction and maintenance so as to derive the maximum benefits from the outlays. Recently, Government have set up a Committee to examine different aspects of integrating various Rural Roads Programmes; its recommendations would be useful in taking up suitable measures in this regard. Also, emphasis would be placed on preparing Master Plans for Rural Roads for each District so as to obtain an optimum network.

8.72 While planning roads in difficult areas such as hills, considerations of economy in cost and preservation of ecological balance must receive due attention. In this regard, construction of bridle paths would be considered in hill areas, and the possibility of providing ropeways explored where the cost of providing road or even bridle path is prohibitive.

8.73 While planning for roads in desert areas, alignment of roads should be determined in a manner providing villagers access to water points. Roads should be planned to link milk centres where the processing plants are located.

8.74 At present, there is no monitoring of the work under MNP. In order to avoid time and cost overruns and for optimal utilisation of the investments, it is suggested that State Government set up effective monitoring machinery to monitor the road construction programmes.

8.75 Plan resources being limited, States may consider introducing special schemes such as Market Committee Fund Schemes in Punjab and Haryana, Krishi Upaj Mandi scheme in Rajasthan. The funds so collected would supplement the plan resources for construction of rural roads.

Urban Roads

8.76 The urbanisation trend in the country indicates that the percentage of urban population may reach 30 per cent by the year 2000 from 23.3 per cent at present. Apart from the 12 metropolitan cities (above 1 million population), there are 3233 towns and cities of various sizes. The urban transport situation in these settlements has reached a chaotic state, since the local authorities have not undertaken adequate investments. The steep growth of vehicle population has created problems of congestion, delay, environmental pollution and accidents. A major thrust is needed to take up engineering measures for improving urban roads as well as planning measures to achieve a good land-use pattern that would restrain the growth of transport demand.

Express Highways

8.77 It is essential to adopt a cautious approach with regard to the construction of Expressways as these involve large investments. The aim would be to plan and construct four-lane roads on high density traffic corridors in preference to dedicated Expressways.

Highway Planning Methodology

8.78 Highway Planning needs to be made analytical and scientific, building up from a good data base that would be established. The States should prepare long-term master plans for the development of roads.

Economic Evaluation

8.79 The present procedure of selecting schemes on an ad hoc basis, relying on tentative cost estimates, would be replaced with systematic economic appraisal. A computer-based Highway Design Model would also be developed.

Research and Development Activities

8.80 Research on transport planning, highway economics, pavement deterioration, pavement specifications, alternate binders, recycling, traffic safety, pollution and energy conservation would be given high priority. The results from such studies can help evolve appropriate solutions to the problems currently facing the sector.

8.81 Highway maintenance is at present a non-plan work. The flow of funds for maintenance has been grossly inadequate to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding network and fast growing traffic. The role of maintenance as a cost-effective strategy would be emphasized and a system would be devised whereby allotment of funds for maintenance of assets already created would receive priority over new construction. In order to assess maintenance needs, modern methods of pavement evaluation would be introduced.


8.82 The need for higher outlays in the road sector is recognised. However, due to constraint of resources, an outlay of Rs. 1019.75 crores has been indicated for Central Sector Roads. The requirements would be reviewed during the Annual Plans and necessary adjustment done at that stage.

8.83 The scheme-wise break-up of the outlay under the Central Sector (Roads) is given in the Annexure 8.1.

8.84 In the State Sector, an outlay of Rs. 4180.29 crores is provided for Roads, out of which an amount of Rs. 1729 crores is earmarked for roads under Minimum Needs Programme.


8.85 In deciding the schemes to be included in the Seventh Plan, the order of priority would be as indicated in Table 8.8.

Table 8.8
Phoritisation of Schemes under Roads

Description of work
Priority Number National and State Highways Rural Roads
1   2 3
1. Completion of ongoing works. 1. Completion of ongoing works.
2. Construction of missing links. 2. Providing connection to villages as per MNP norms.
3. Construction of missing bridges. 3. Improvement of roads already constructed under MNP norms including black topping and construction of cross drainage.
4. Reconstruction/Widening of weak/narrow structures.
5. Energy conservation measures such as improvement of low grade sections, widening to two lanes and four lanes, construction of Expressways and strengthening of pavements.  


6. Geometric improvements.  
7. Construction of important bypasses.  
8. Replacement of Railway level crossings by over bridges.
9. Road Safety measures.  
10. Measures to improve the environment.  
[ Vol1-Index ] - [ Vol2-Index ]
^^ Top
Next >
Back to Index