During the British period roads were constructed mainly for defence purpose. Importance of Roads in India: India is a country of villages and is predomintaly an agricultural nation. Roads are very important for the development of villages and agriculture. Movement of agricultural produce by farmers to the markets is possible only by roadways. Essential commodities required by the villagers are transported with the help of roads. Roads are feeders to railways. Road are classified into four types. They are :- National Highways, State Highways, District Roads and Village Roads besides border roads.
National Highways are the most important roads of the country. The national highways are constructed across the length and breadth of the country. These highways connect various state capitals, major ports and industrial centres. Their construction and maintenance is the responsibility of the Central Government. India has a total of that roads 70,934 kms of National Highways. The Indian Government established National Highway has Authority of India in the year 1989 to construct and maintain National Highways. The first category - National Highways link major cities of India with capitals of neighbouring countries. Ex.Lahore – Amritsar – Delhi – Agra – Calcutta – Imphal and Mandalay - Bari – Kathmandu. second catagory National Highways link the capitals of states and ports. NH of the second grade connects Varanasi-Kanyakumari with a distance of about 2343kms. It is the longest highway of the country. The highway connecting Kulu-Manali and Leh is at a height of 4267 meters.It is the highest road in the world.
With about 52.32 lakh km of road network comprising National Highways, State Highways and other roads, India has the second largest road network in the world. The National Highways (NH) in the country cover a total length of 1,00,475 km and carry about 40 per cent of the road traffic.