ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Are We on the Right Trail?

India Transport Report

The National Transport Development Policy Committee report, which has been published as the India Transport Report, was expected to take a holistic view of the transport sector. It succeeds partially at best and a sensible person's response to the report has to be mixed. While some of its unrealistic recommendations can be sidestepped, governments at all levels need to act quickly on those that affect users of the system in terms of affordability, reliability, and, above all, safety.

The much-awaited National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC) report, appropriately titled India Transport Report – Moving India to 2032 (GoI 2014), was submitted to the prime minister recently. Between 1977 and 1980, a similar exercise was undertaken by the National Transport Policy Committee (GoI 1980), but nothing was done after that except for a brief look at the sector by the steering committee on transport planning and policy (GoI 1988) in the late 1980s. This was followed by sectoral committee reports, leading the pronouncement of the National Urban Transport Policy (GoI 2006) in 2006. A holistic view was missing and it was expected that the NTDPC would fill the gap and put the country on the right route to improvement. It is against this background of high expectations that an attempt is made here to assess the extent to which this has been fulfilled. We begin with some general critical comments and move on to specifics later.

It is rightly acknowledged that the NTDPC report tries to build on the earlier reports, especially those in which the chairman was involved, such as the India Infrastructure Report (NCAER 1996) and the India Railways Report (NCAER 2001). To the extent that the analytical framework is the basis for the current report, its focus is clear. This background also paved an easy way for making recommendations for things that had already been done fairly comprehensively and exhaustively. If this is the case, why take such a long time?

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