By increasing the infrastructure budget by about 75% in the post Covid-19 period, India has gone a long way in fulfilling its goal to become one of the largest economies in the world by 2047 with a GDP of about $35-40 trillion

Last month, India created a history when a metro train in Kolkata travelled underneath the Hooghly River during its trial run. Crossing through a 520-metre-long tunnel which lies 32 meters below the water, metro train’s running underneath the river showcased India’s capability to develop quality infrastructure. Indian railways has built an arch bridge which is 359-metre above the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir; it is the world’s highest railway bridge which is 35-metre taller than France’s Eiffel Tower.

Powered by an ambition to become one of the largest economies in the world by 2047 with a GDP of about $35-40 trillion, India is building quality and international-standard infrastructure at a breakneck speed. It is moving with a target of investing more than $1.40 trillion under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP). The NIP currently has 8,964 projects. Of them 100 critical projects have been prioritized for completion.

Massive infrastructure build-up

India has about 63.73 lakh km of road network, which is the second largest in the world. As of November 30, 2022, the total length of national highways in the country was 1,44,634 km, while length of state highways stood at 1,86,908 km and length of other roads 59,02,539 km. Addressing the Economic Times Global Business Summit in Delhi on February 17 this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said highways are being built in India at a speed of 38 km per day.

In addition to these roads, India has ramped up infrastructure along its borders with China and Pakistan. Last year on October 28, 75 projects comprising 45 bridges, 27 roads, two helipads and one carbon neutral habitat—spread across six states and two Union Territories were dedicated to the nation by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.

In 2021-22, a total of 102 infrastructure projects - 87 bridges and 15 roads - were completed along the country’s bordering areas and this included construction of 9.2 km Atal tunnel, the world’s longest all-weather tunnel built above 10,000 feet above sea level.

The 8.5 km long Banihar-Qazigund tunnel along the 270-km Jammu and Kashmir national highway and built 5800 feet above sea level, was opened for traffic in April last year.

In Jammu and Kashmir alone, 19 tunnels are being constructed and one of them is the 13.14 km long Zojila tunnel being built along Zojila Pass in the Himalayas between Ganderbal in Kashmir and Drass town in Kargil district of Ladakh. With the construction of this tunnel, there will be all-weather connectivity for Ladakh.

On the other hand, Indian railways is laying new lines at the rate of 5 km per day. During 2022-23, 2909 km long new rail lines were laid along with doubling and gauge conversion.

As of March 31, 2022, the total length of the rail line stood at 68,043km, making it the world’s largest rail network. During 2021-22, 288.55 km of new lines were completed. Of the total length of the existing rail route, 52,000 km lines are electrified. More than 32,000 km were electrified in the past eight years.

Under the rubric of quality infrastructure, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, being executed with technical and financial assistance of the Japanese government, represents India’s long-held desire to become a modern state which wills to provide its citizens all necessary amenities of life.

On February 11, 2022, Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronic & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw told the Upper House of Parliament that the government has decided to undertake survey and prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for seven high speed rail corridors between Delhi and Varanasi, Delhi and Amritsar, Delhi and Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Nagpur, Chennai and Bangalore-Mysore and Varanasi and Howrah.

In the area of urban transportation, the metro rail system has emerged as a significant example of India’s speed and scale. Its presence is now in more than dozen different cities of India and total length of metro track has gone up from 250 km before 2014 to around 800 km in the past eight years. Work is going on metro routes of more than 1000km.

There are 12 major ports and 217 non-major ports in India. Under the ambitious Sagarmala programme, a total 802 projects have been identified and of them, 220 projects related to coastal infrastructure, holistic development of coastal districts have been completed till December 2022.

There are currently a total 30 international airports in the country and of them, six airports have been constructed/declared as international airports in the past eight years and they include Kannur in Kerala, Shirdi in Maharashtra, Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, Mopa in Goa. Two existing airports namely, Vijayawada and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh were declared as international airports in the year 2017.

Besides, new domestic airports have been built in Durgapur (West Bengal), Pakyong (Sikkim), Kalaburagi (Karnataka), Sindhudurg (Maharashtra), Donyi Polo (Arunachal Pradesh), Shivamogga (Karnataka). There are a total 30 international airports, 103 domestic airports and 10 customs airports in the country. All this along, the Indian government has accorded in-principle approval for setting up of 21 new greenfield airports.


India in its budget for 2022-23 increased capital expenditure for infrastructure development by 35.4% from Rs 5,5 lakh crore in 2021-22 to Rs7.5 lakh crore. In fact, infrastructure development has become essential for economic growth. Its impact on productivity and reduction in production costs across economic sectors cannot be ruled out while evaluating the country’s overall economic development.