Impact of the shift on the workforce
Coal mines create over 7.25 lakh direct jobs and many more indirect jobs. With the retirement of old coal plants and shutting down of mines, thousands of coal mine workers are at risk of disruption in livelihood in the five states – West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra. Most of them are blue-collared workers who need to be upskilled with the newer skills of the hour. Apart from the direct workers, the entire economy of mining districts revolves around coal-related activities, and communities have relied on it for generations.
The concept of ‘Just Transition’
‘Just Transition’ addresses the economic vulnerabilities due to the potential loss of livelihood of coal mine workers. It is important to lay impetus on facilitating economic diversification and livelihood promotion for the reintegration of the miners in the alternate industries. Various reskilling programs will enable the affected miners to gain new skills and resources to diversify themselves out of the coal mining industry. Entrepreneurship development and promoting MSMEs will be the key factors in reviving and diversifying the economy of coal-dependent industry towns.
State skill action plans
As per the report, the skill action plans will act as a blueprint/framework of actions to help design industry-relevant skilling and livelihood promotion interventions for the transitioning miners. These plans, outlined by the report, will empower the states to lead with a strategy for addressing the transition needs of the workers. The components of the Skill Action Plan include the following:
- Identification of geographical clusters, estimating potential job losses
- Assessment of the target population – miners
- Identification of key industry drivers and imperatives
- Creating synergies across ongoing skill enhancement and livelihood support programs
- Collaboration and institutional strengthening for funding and program delivery support
- Capacity building of functionaries to actualize the convergent program delivery
- Monitoring and impact evaluation to assess the benefits of the programs to the miners
- Knowledge management – a repository of ready reckoners, global and national best practices, etc.
(EY India GPS Partner Amit Vatsyayan also contributed to this article.)