Transport in India

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Transport in the Republic of India is an important part of the nation's economy. Since the economic liberalisation of the 1990s, development of infrastructure within the country has progressed at a rapid pace, and today there is a wide variety of modes of transport by land, water and air. However, the relatively low GDP of India has meant that access to these modes of transport has not been uniform. Motor vehicle penetration is low with only 13 million cars on the nation's roads.[1] In addition, only around 10% of Indian households own a motorcycle.[2] At the same time, the Automobile industry in India is rapidly growing with an annual production of over 2.6 million vehicles[3] and vehicle volume is expected to rise greatly in the future.[4] In the interim however, public transport still remains the primary mode of transport for most of the population, and India's public transport systems are among the most heavily utilised in the world.[5] India's rail network is the longest and fourth most heavily used system in the world transporting over 6 billion passengers and over 350 million tons of freight annually.[5][6]

Despite ongoing improvements in the sector, several aspects of the transport sector are still riddled with problems due to outdated infrastructure, lack of investment, corruption and a burgeoning population. The demand for transport infrastructure and services has been rising by around 10% a year[5] with the current infrastructure being unable to meet these growing demands. According to recent estimates by Goldman Sachs, India will need to spend US$1.7 Trillion on infrastructure projects over the next decade to boost economic growth of which US$500 Billion is budgeted to be spent during the eleventh Five-year plan.[7]

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