Ministry of Road Transport & Highways

The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) is a ministry of the Government of India, responsible for the development, maintenance, and management of national highways, transport research, and road safety programs across the country. The ministry plays a crucial role in the economic growth and connectivity of India by ensuring the construction and upkeep of a robust road network.


The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways was formed in 2000 by bifurcating the erstwhile Ministry of Surface Transport into two separate ministries: the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and the Ministry of Shipping. Prior to this, the Ministry of Surface Transport was established in 1986, combining the Ministry of Shipping and Transport and the Department of Surface Transport.

Organizational Structure

The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways is headed by a Union Minister, who is assisted by a Minister of State. The administrative head of the ministry is the Secretary, who is supported by additional secretaries, joint secretaries, and other officials. The ministry has several attached and subordinate offices, including:

  • National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)
  • Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE)
  • National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL)
  • Indian Roads Congress (IRC)

Key Responsibilities

  • National Highways Development: The ministry is responsible for the development, maintenance, and management of the National Highways network in India, which spans over 1,36,440 km (as of March 2021).
  • Road Safety: MoRTH formulates policies and implements programs to enhance road safety, such as the National Road Safety Policy, Road Safety Councils, and awareness campaigns.
  • Motor Vehicle Legislation: The ministry drafts and implements motor vehicle legislation, including the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.
  • Transport Research: MoRTH conducts research on road transport, traffic management, and road safety through its research arm, the Transport Research Wing (TRW).

Major Initiatives and Programs

  • Bharatmala Pariyojana: This is an umbrella program for the highway sector, aimed at optimizing the efficiency of freight and passenger movement across the country. It focuses on the development of Economic Corridors, Inter Corridors, and Feeder Routes, along with the integration of coastal and port connectivity, and greenfield expressways.
  • National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) Program: The ministry has implemented the FASTag system, a digital toll collection mechanism that enables seamless traffic flow and reduces congestion at toll plazas.
  • Green Highways Policy: MoRTH has introduced the Green Highways Policy to promote greening and plantation along the national highways, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of road development and enhancing the aesthetic value of the highways.
  • Road Safety Initiatives: The ministry has launched several road safety initiatives, such as the Incident Management System (IMS) for quick response to accidents, the Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD) for better data collection and analysis, and the Suraksheit Sadak campaign for road safety awareness.

Challenges and Future Outlook

The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways faces several challenges, including land acquisition issues, environmental concerns, and funding constraints. However, the ministry is committed to overcoming these challenges and has set ambitious targets for the future, such as the construction of 40 km of national highways per day and the development of an integrated, multi-modal transportation system for the country.

The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways plays a vital role in India’s economic growth and development by ensuring the creation and maintenance of a robust road infrastructure. Through its various initiatives and programs, the ministry aims to provide safe, efficient, and sustainable transportation solutions for the nation.

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