Lifelines of National Economy

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Transportation plays a major role in the development of a country. Being the lifelines of the national economy, transportation channels help our country prosper. 

Importance of Transportation

Transporting raw materials to the factory becomes easier with a good transport system in place. ‘Transport’ is an important lifeline of the country’s economy. They help in taking finished products to the consumers. The pace of a country’s development is determined by its rate of production of goods and services. Hence, proper means of transport are essential for fast development.

Roadways in India

Adding up to about 5.89 million kilometers, India’s road network is among the largest in the world. 

Let’s analyze road and rail transports in the country: 

  • The construction cost of roads are much lower when compared to that of railway lines.
  • Roads can be cut through rather dissected and undulating topography.
  • Roads are better in negotiating higher gradients of slopes including mountains such as the Himalayas.
  • Road transport is economical while transporting few persons and comparatively smaller amounts of goods over short distances.
  • Road transport facilitates door-to-door service, lowering the cost of loading and unloading.
  • By linking railway stations, air, and seaports, road transport functions as a feeder to other modes of transport.

Road Density

It can be defined as the length of road per 100 sq. km of area. The density of roads keep changing, ranging from Jammu & Kashmir to  Kerala. 

The national average road density is 142.68 km (as per 2011 statistics).


The principal mode of transportation for freight and passengers in India are the railways. They facilitate business, sightseeing and pilgrimage. Indian railways play a crucial role in transporting goods over long distances across the country. In short, it accelerates development in the field of industry and agriculture, binding the economy of the country.

Development of Railways

Indian railway is reorganized into 17 zones. Physiographic, economic, and administrative factors have largely influenced the distribution of the railway network in the country. Extensive level lands, high population density, and abundant agricultural resources of the northern plains provided a major boost to the development of railways. As a result, the railway network is well advanced in this region.

Difficulty in Laying Railways

Laying railway lines on the sandy plains of Rajasthan, swamps of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were a major challenge. The Konkan railways have ‘facilitated’ the movement of passengers and goods in the strategic location of the nation. 

Pipelines in India

Pipeline transport is a new addition on the transportation map of India. Earlier, they were used to transport water to cities and industries. These days, crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas are transported via pipelines to refineries, factories, and big thermal power plants. 

The three major pipelines are:

  • Between oil fields in upper Assam and Kanpur.
  • Between Salaya in Gujarat and Jalandhar in Punjab.
  • Gas pipeline connecting Hazira in Gujarat and Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh.


Being the cheapest means of transport, they are suitable for carrying heavy and bulky goods. At present, India has an inland navigation waterways of 20,236 kms in length. 

Three of the national waterways are:

  • The Ganga river (between Allahabad and Haldia).
  • The Brahmaputra river (between Sadiya and Dhubri)
  • The West-Coast canal, Kerala.


The air transport in India was nationalized in 1953. Indian Airlines and Alliance Air (subsidiary) provide domestic air services. Similar air services are provided by several private scheduled airlines and non-scheduled operators as well. Air India provides international air services too.

Apart from the above mentioned, television, radio, press, and films serve as the communication lifelines of the national economy.

  • Being the largest postal network in the world, the Indian Post handles parcels as well as personal written communications.
  • India also has one of the largest telephone networks in Asia. This helps in strengthening the flow of information from the grassroots to higher levels. The twenty-four hours STD facility is being extended to every village in the country.
  • Being one of the fastest growing mobile networks in the world, mobile phones have revolutionized the way Indians conduct businesses. Mass communication comprises radio, television, newspapers and films. They entertain and also raise awareness on national programmes and policies. 
  • As we all know, India is the largest producer of feature films in the world.
Check Your Knowledge

It can be defined as the length of road per 100 sq. km of area.

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