Fact check: Did the BJP expand the national highway network?

The Modi government also claims the speed of construction and expenditure on road construction has increased in the last 4 years.

ByNL Team
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Fact check: Did the BJP expand the national highway network?
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The BJP government uploaded an infographic on the 48-months portal that makes certain claims about highway construction by the current government. This article is a fact check of these claims.

Has the expenditure on road construction increased? 

The first claim is that expenditure on road construction was ₹32,483 crore in 2013-14 and it increased to ₹1,16,324 crore in 2017-18.

As per the government’s budget documents, the actual expenditure on roads and bridges in 2013-14 was ₹31,588 crore. This includes the amount from the Internal and Extra Budgetary Resources (IEBR). As per an answer provided by the government in the Lok Sabha in August 2018, the allocation of funds and expenditure incurred for the development of national highways and roads in 2017-18 was ₹1,09,453 crore and ₹1,00,179 crore, respectively, including IEBR.

In terms of budget size, the total union budget expenditure in 2013-14 was ₹15.59 lakh crore out of which the amount spent on roads was ₹31,588 crore—roughly 2 per cent of the total budget expenditure. On the other hand, the revised budget expenditure for 2017-18 is ₹22.18 lakh crore out of which the amount spent on roads is ₹1,00,179 crores or 4.5 per cent of the total budget expenditure. Hence, in terms of the proportion of expenditure, the expenditure on roads has more than doubled in the last four years.

Claim: Expenditure on road construction was ₹32,483 crore in 2013-14 and ₹1,16,324 crore in 2017-18.

Fact: Though the actual numbers are not exactly right, the proportion of budget expenditure on roads has more than doubled. Hence the claim is PARTLY TRUE.

By how much has the national highway network increased?

The second claim is that the national highway network expanded from 92,851 km in 2013-14 to 1,20,543 km in 2017-18. According to the annual report (2013-14) of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the length of national highways and expressways was 92,851 km by the end of 2013-14. The annual report (2017-18) states that the length of national highways and expressways is 1,20,543 km.

The following graph shows that the national highway network has been increasing steadily over the past years. The percentage increase in the total length of national highways during the last four years of the UPA government is more or less the same for the first four years of the current government.

Claim: The national highway network expanded from 92, 851 km in 2013-14 to 1,20,543 km in 2017-18.

Fact: The claim is TRUE. However, the percentage increase in the total length of national highways during the last four years of the UPA government is more or less the same as the first four years of the current government.

Has the speed of national highway construction increased?

The third claim is that the speed of national highway construction increased from 12 km/day in 2013-14 to 27 km/day in 2017-18. Data taken from an answer provided in the Lok Sabha shows that the length of national highways constructed in 2013-14 is 4,260 km. In a press release, the government stated that 9,829 km of national highways was constructed in 2017-18. This implies that 12 km of national highways were constructed per day in 2013-14 and 27 km per day in 2017-18.

The following graph shows the change in average speed of construction over the years based on data gathered from the ministry’s annual reports and answers provided in Parliament. The average speed of construction did increase substantially in the last two years.

Claim: Speed of highway construction increased from 12 km/day in 2013-14 to 27 km/day in 2017-18.

Fact: The claim is TRUE.

What about coastal connectivity roads?

The last claim is that 2,000 km of coastal connectivity roads have been identified for construction and development. According to an answer provided in the Lok Sabha, 2,000 km of coastal and port connectivity roads have been approved by the Cabinet under the Bharatmala Pariyojana (BMP) Phase I in October 2017. The roads identified have been synergised with the Sagarmala programme.

Claim: 2,000 km of coastal connectivity roads identified for construction and development.

Fact: The claim is TRUE.

Note: The research has been done by Factly and is part of a larger series on the 4 years of the Modi government.

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