Means of Transport

  • Goods are transported from supply to demand locations by people called traders. Transport is a key factor that influences India’s rapid economic development.
  • Based on the medium it uses, the means of transport can be divided into land transport, water transport and air transport.
  • Land transport includes roadways and railways and pipelines used to transport liquid and gaseous material over long distances.
  • Water transport can be classified as inland transport and overseas transport.
  • Inland transport happens along coastline between two domestic ports or through inland waterways.
  • Overseas transport involves sending goods from one country to another.
  • Air transport can be classified as domestic and international. Private and government-run domestic airways connect different cities of India. International airways connect India with destinations in all parts of the world.
  • Modern advances’ in science and technology have not left any part of the world inaccessible. Thus, the world appears a much smaller place today.
  • Trade requires some means of exchanging ideas and connecting with people. This is where communication comes in.
  • While transport physically transfers people and goods from one place to another, means of communication allow people in different locations to connect with each other without actually travelling.
  • Some common means of communication are radio, television, cinema, newspapers, Internet, fax and phone services.
  • A dense and efficient network of transport, and extensive, reliable means of communication are the true lifelines of trade and economic development for India and the rest of the world.
  • There are five types of transport systems in India – roadways, railways, pipelines, waterways and airways.


  • India has one of the largest road networks in the world; total length is about 54.7 lakh km. In India, roadways have preceded railways in following ways:
  • Construction cost of roads is much lower than that of rail lines.
  • Roads can be constructed comparatively more dissected and undulating topography.
  • Roads can negotiate higher gradients of slopes and as such can traverse mountains such as the Himalays.
  • Road transport is economical in transportation of few persons and smaller amount of goods over short distances.
  • It also provides door-to-door service, reducing the cost of loading and unloading which is much lower.
  • Road transport also provides feeder service to other modes of transport such as they provide a link between railways stations, airports and sea port.
  • In India, according to their capacity, roads are classified in the following six classes:

Golden Quadrileteral Super Highways : The government has launched a road dvelopment project linking Delhi-Kolkata, Chennai-Mumbai, Chennai-Kolkata and Delhi by six-lane Super Highways.

National Highways : These roads are laid and maintained by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). These Highways link extreme parts of the country.

State Highways : Roads linking a state capital with different district headquarters of the states are known as State Highways. These roads are constructed and maintained by the Public Works Department of the State and union territories.

District Roads : Road which connect the district headquarters with other places of the district are known as district roads. These roads are constructed and maintained by the Zila Parishad.

Other Roads : Roads, which link rural areas and villages with towns, are classified as rural roads. These roads received special impetus under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sagdak Yojana.

Border Roads : Border Roads Organization , a Government of India undertaking, constructs and maintains roads in the bordering areas of the country. Border Roads have improved accessibility in areas of difficult terrain and have helped in the economic development of the border area.

  • On the basis of the type of material used for their construction, roads are classified as metalled and unmetalled roads.
  • The length of road per 100 sq. km of area is known as density of roads.
  • In India, Kerala (517.77 km) has the highest and Jammu and Kashmir (12.14 km) has the lowest road density.
  • Road transportation in India faces the following problems

i) Keeping in view of the volume and traffic and passengers, the road network is inadequate.

ii) About half of the roads are unmetalled and this limits their usage during the rainy season.

iii) The National Highways are inadequate.

iv) The roadways are highly congested in cities and most of the bridges and culverts are old and narrow.


  • Railways are the principal mode of transportation for freight and passengers in India.
  • Indian Railways have been a greate integrating force for more than 150 years. It conducts multifarious activities like business, sightseeing, pilgrimage along with transportation of goods over longer distances.
  • The railways are now more than 150 years old in India. The total track length of the railways is about 115,000 km. While the total route length of the network is 68,525 km.
  • India has the second largest railway network in Asia and six largest railway network after USA, Russia, Canada, Germany and China.
  • The Indian Railways carry 40,000 lakh passengers and 4,000 lakh tonnes of goods a year. It had a fleet of 9,213 locomotives , 53,220 passenger service vehicles, 6,493 other coach vehicles and 2,29,381 wagons as on 31st March 2011.
  • The distribution of the Railway network in the country has been largely influenced by physiographic, economic and administrative factors.
  • The northern plains with their vast level land, high population density and rich agricultural resources provided the most favourable condition for the growth of railways.
  • In the hilly terrains of the peninsular India, railway tracts are laid through low hills, gaps or tunnels. The Himalayan mountainous regions are also unfavourable for the construction of railway lines due to high relief, sparse population and lack of economic opportunities.
  • It was also difficult to lay railway lines on the sandy plain of western Rajasthan, swamps of Gujarat, forested tracks of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand.
  • The development of the Konkan railway along the west coast has facilitated the movement of passengers and goods in the western coastal region of India.
  • In India rail transport suffers from certain problems. These are as follows:

i) Many passengers travel without tickets

ii) Thefts and damaging of railway property has not yet stopped completely.

iii) People stop the trains by pulling the chain unnecessarily and this causes heavy damage to the railways.


Pipelines were earlier used for the transportation of water and now they are being used for the transportation of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas.

  • Solids can be transported a pipeline when converted into slurry.
  • Initial cost of laying pipelines is high but subequent running costs are minimal. It rules out trans-shipment losses or delays.
  • Three important networks of pipeline transportation in the country are as follows:

i) From oil field in upper Assam to Kanpur via Guwahati, Barauni and Allahabad.

ii) From Salaya in Gujarat to Jalandhar in Punjab, via Viramgam, Mathura, Delhi and Sonipat.

iii) Gas pipeline from Hazira in Gujarat connect Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh, via Vijaipur in Madhya Pradesh.


  • Waterways are the cheapest means of transport. They are most suitable for carrying heavy and bulky goods. It is fuel-efficient and envirnment friendly mode of transport.
  • In India, Inland Waterways have a length of 14,500 km. The government has declared the following waterways as National Waterways i.e.
  • The Ganga River between Allahabad and Haldia (1,620 km). National Waterway no.1
  • The Brahmaputra River between Sadiya and Dhubri (891 km). National Waterway no.2.
  • The West-Coast Canal in Kerala (Kottapurma-Kollam, Udyogamandal and Champakkara canas -205 km)-N.W.No.3
  • Specified stretches of Godavari and Krishna rivers along with Kakinada – Puducherry stretch canals (1078 km) – N.W.No.4
  • Specified stretches of river Brhamani along with Matai river, delta channels of Mahanadi and Brahmani rivers and East Coast Canal (588 km) – N.W.No.5


India has 12 major and 200 medium and minor seaports.

  • Major Ports on the West Coast : Kandla, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru (Nhava Sheva), Marmagao, New Mangalore and Cochin.
  • Major Ports on the East Coast : Kolkata, Haldia, Paradip, Vishakapatnam, Chennai, Ennore and Tuticorin.
  • Biggest Port : Mumbai
  • Kandla is a tidal port. It was the first port developed soon after independence to ease the volume of trade on the Mumbai port.
  • Mumbai is the largest port in the country . It has a spacious, natural and well-sheltered harbour.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Port was planned with a view to decongest the Mumbai port.
  • Marmagao port (Goa) is the premier iron ore exporting port of the country.
  • New Mangalore port, located in Karnataka caters to the export of iron ore concentrates from Kudermukh mines.
  • Kochchi is the extreme south-western port, located at the entrance of a lagoon with a natural harbour.
  • South-eastern port of Tuticorin, in Tamil Nadu, has a natural harbor and rich hinterland.
  • Chennai is one of the oldest artificial ports of the coutry. It is ranked second in the country in terms of the volume of trade and cargo.
  • Vishakhapatnam is the deepest landlocked and well-protected port of India.
  • Paradwip port located in Odisha, specializes in the export of iron ore.
  • Kolkata is an inland riverine port.
  • Haldia port was developed as a subsidiary port, in order to relieve growing pressure on the Kolkata port.


  • Airways is the fastest, most comfortable and prestigious mode of transport.
  • It can cover high mountains, dreary deserts, dense forests and also long oceanic stretches with great ease.
  • Air travel has made access easire in the north-eastern part of the country with the presence of big rivers, dissected relief, dense forests and frequent floods.
  • In 1953, air transport was nationalised.
  • Indian Airlines, and private scheduled airlines and non-scheduled operators provide domestic air services.
  • Air India provides international air services.
  • International Airports : Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Amritsar, Hyderabad and Cochin.
  • Domestic Airports : There are 63 domestic airports in the country. Airports are managed by the Airport Authority of India.


Means of Communication

  • From the earliest times, human beings have felt the need to communicate with each other. The latest advances in communication are about enabling communication over long distances without the need for change in location of the sender or receiver.
  • Communication is of two types: Personal communication and mass communication. Personal communication is where just two or a small group of people communicate with each other. Personal letters, e-mails and phone calls are examples of itner-personal communication.
  • Mass communication is communication referred to an indefinite number of people spread over a large geographical area. Radio, television, cinema, newspapers, magazines and internet, are examples of mass communication.
  • India’s postal service is the largest of its kind in the world where the services are provided by the Department of Posts of the Government of India. The Indian Postal Service handles both letters and parcels. Post cards and envelopes are classified as first-class main and are delivered on priority using both air and land transport.
  • Packes of books, and registered newspapers and periodicals are classified as second class mail, and are delivered using surface transport like roadways, railways and ships.
  • The Indian postal service has introduced six channels for quickers delivery of letters in large towns and cities, called the Rajdhani Channel, Metro Channel, Green Channel, Business Channel, Bulk Mail Channel and Periodical Channel.
  • The telecom network in India is the largest in Asia, with about 37,565 telephone exchanges spread all over the country. All the urban centres and over two-thirds of Indian villages are now connected with subscriber trunk dialling, or STD facility.
  • The Government of India has made provisions for 24-hour STD facility in every village of India. A uniform rate of STD calls from anywhere in India is possible due to the integration of our Space and communication technology development programmes.
  • Radio, television, cinema, books, newspapers, magazines and the Internet serve the dual purpose of providing entertainment and information to the masses.
  • All India Radio Akashwani broadcasts a variety of programmes in regional languages all over India.
  • Doordarshan the national television channel of India, is one fo the largest terrestrail networks in the world. Doordarshan broadcasts a variety of Programmes from entertainment, news and information to sports and educational programmes, etc. for all age groups.
  • Periodicals are publications like newspapers and amgazines published at regular intervals, from daily to weekly to monthly to yearly. Daily newspapers in India are published in more than 100 languages and dialects. Hindi has the largest share of newspaper publication, followed by English and Urdu. The Indian film industry is the largest producer of feature films in the world and also producer of short films and Video films.
  • The Central Board of Film Certification, more commonly known as the Censor Board, certifies all Indian and foreign films before they can be released in India.
  • Communication : The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or using some other medium e.g. phones, letters, television, etc.
  • Personal Communciation : It includes postcards, letters, telegrams, telephones and internet.
  • Mass Communication : It includes handbooks, journals, magazines, newspapes, radio, television and films. They are of two types: i) print media, ii) electronic media.
  • Personal Written Communication : Indian postal network – 1.5 lakh post offices in India.
  • First-Class Mail : Mail that is air lifted between stations.
  • Second-Class Mail : Mail that is carried by surface covering land and water transport.

International Trade and Tourism

  • The exchange of goods between people, companies, states and countries is called trade.
  • The trade within a locality or between towns or villages of a state is called local trade. The trade between two states is called state level trade.
  • The trade between two countries is called international trade. Advancement of International trade is index of the health of a country’s economy and has two components.
  • The goods purchased from other countries are called imports while the goods sold to other countries are called exports. The difference between the exports and imports of a country is called its balance of trade.
  • When the value of the exports of a country is more than the value of its imports, the country is said to have a favourable balance of trade. When the value of the imports of a country is more than the value of exports, the country is said to have an unfavourable balance of trade.
  • The major products showing a rising trend in exports from India are agriculture and allied products, ores and minerals, gems and jewellery, chemicals and allied products, engineering goods and petroleum products.
  • The main categories of products imported into India are petroleum and petroleum products, pearls and gemstones, inorganic chemicals, coal, coke and briquettes and machinery.
  • The bulk imports as a group registered a growth accounting for 39.09 percent of total imports. This group includes fertilizers, cereals, edible oils and newsprint. India is a leading software producing country and generates large amounts of foreign exchange through the export of information technology.
  • Tourism is an important form of international trade. The Indian tourism industry employs around 15 millon people ot take care of around 2.6 million foreign tourists who visit India every year. Foreign tourists visit India for heritage tourism, eco-tourism, adventure tourism, cultural tourism, medical tourism and business tourism.
  • Tourism not only promotes national integration, it also gives tremendous boost to local handicraft industries and helps foreign tourists to understand and appreciate our cultural heritage.
  • Foreign tourist’s arrivals in the country witnessed an increase of 11.8% during the year 2010 as against the year 2009, thus contributing Rs.64,889 crore of foreign exchange.
  • International Trade : Trade between two countries is called international trade.
  • Trade : Exchange of goods  between two parties such as people, states and countries is called trade.
  • Economic Barometer : Advancement of international trade of a country is an index to its economic prsperity. It is, therefore, considered the economic barometer for a country.
  • Balance of Trade : The difference between exports and imports.
  • Favourable Balance of Trade : If the value of exports is more than the value of imports.
  • Unfavourable Balance of Trade : If the value of imports is more than the value of exports.
  • Tourism as a Trade : Tourism promote national integration and develops an international understanding. It supports local handicrafts and cultural pursuits.