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Policy needed for just transition from coal: NITI Aayog panel

The 14-member committee said in its report that such a well-defined policy framework will provide the necessary administrative and legal backing to actions

The 14-member committee chaired by BP Pati, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Coal, said in its report that such a well-defined policy framework will provide the necessary administrative and legal backing to the proposed actions.

“It is recommended that the Centre should develop a coal just transition policy," the report posted on the website of NITI Aayog said, adding that it should be finalised after adequate consultations with all concerned, especially, the states, and providing the general public an opportunity to comment on it. The policy should be periodically be revisited and refined based on experience, the panel said.

While the transition away from coal is going to be set over a multi-decadal time frame, some coal mines may close down due to exhaustion of reserves, safety reasons and viability issues. Such mine closures happening in short term and closures happening in long term due to tapering of coal demand will have impact on the livelihood of local community and also on the economy of coal regions and will present social disruptions, challenges, and opportunities, the committee said.

Such comprehensive transition plan will help in handling mine closures and also ensure that the long term transition does not take place in an ad hoc manner. It will also help in addressing the affected communities’ concerns and aspirations.

Identifying the sources of funds to support the just transition and developing guidelines for utilisation of such funds are also needed, the committee said.

India is the second largest consumer of coal and the fuel has so far played a crucial role in India’s energy sector, accounting for 55% of the country’s energy needs and over 75% of its electricity needs. Coal is also a vital ingredient and energy source in production of many important products such as steel, cement, fertilizer and paper, the report pointed out.

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