This paper—the first of a two-part release from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)—lays out the socioeconomic and environmental contexts of the coal economy in India. The authors highlight the detrimental impacts that the phaseout is likely to have on: the livelihoods and social surplus across coal-dependent states; the coal royalties that make up a significant portion of the no-tax revenue for a state; the stoppage of social empowerment initiatives and infrastructural losses; along with the unintended losses of the financial and social structures functioning within the gray market of the coal mining industry.
The authors also draw out the disproportionate impact on women and the vulnerable within these communities expected from the phaseout. The authors contend that in a mixed economy like India, a just transition takes utmost precedence, because it not only aims to formalize the deeply informal coal sector, but also seeks to achieve the critical characteristics needed to fulfill the notion of an “energy democracy”. The paper also discusses how the existing regulatory framework cannot comprehensively handle the complex interlinkages that exist within the subsector of the informal mining segment, part of which is both licensed and illegal and part of which is artisanal in nature.