A starting point for just transition in India’s coal sector can be the low-producing, unprofitable and end-of-life mines. There are many such mines in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal. A well-planned closure of these mines, taking into consideration the measures for a social transition, can be a win-win for the industry, as well as for the workers and the local community who can engage in alternative economic activities after the closure of mines. However, to achieve this, having appropriate laws and regulations in place, along with a well-designed governance mechanism, is necessary.
This report undertakes a legal assessment for ensuring a just transition in the coal mining sector, in the context of foreseeable closures of unprofitable and end-of-life mines. The assessment involves evaluating the scope, as well as the associated challenges and limitations of the laws and regulations that are related to the closure of coal mines. Taking into consideration the global experiences of a just coal transition, and the context of India’s coal sector and the regions where such activities are concentrated, the analysis is focussed on laws and regulations pertaining to environment, land, and labour, which have salience for a just closure of mines. In conclusion the report outlines a reform framework/agenda to guide just transition of such mines in the coming years.