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Energy transition towards clean sources, low emission energy system is a priority for India: NITI Aayog

Apr 13, 2022

Need to strategize energy transition from skill development perspective; Industry to take necessary steps: Additional Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI

NEW DELHI, 13 April 2022: Mr Rajnath Ram, Adviser (Energy), NITI Aayog today said that the energy transition towards clean sources and a low emission energy system is undoubtedly a priority for the country.

Addressing the webinar 'Development of Skill action plan for fueling transition from coal-based power plants to renewable energy in India', organized by FICCI jointly with EY, Mr Ram said, "Four factors would play a critical role in India's Transition from fossil fuel usage to cleaner/ renewable energy, namely, increasing electrification, higher penetration of cleaner fuels, accelerated adoption of renewable energy and rising digitization and material efficiency."

He further asserted that Human Development Goals should be placed at the center of the transition.

Mr M Nagaraju, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Govt of India said, "It is important to strategize and plan the energy transition from skill development perspective and it is heartening to see that Industry is recognizing the requirement of skill development and taking initiatives towards that."

Mr Nagaraju mentioned that collaboration of technological advancements, financial enablement, skill development and institutional framework would be critical for the energy transition that the country has embarked upon.

Mr Praveen Saxena, CEO, Skill Council for Green Jobs said, "India has agreed to abide to the NDC targets in CoP21 and revised its targets in CoP26. This has translated into a huge opportunity for job creation in the country." He further added that about two crore additional jobs will be created by 2030 due to transition towards renewable energy / clean energy. New opportunities from Green Growth to Green Job are opening up for start-ups and youth in the country.

Emphasizing on the need for just transition, Mr Vipul Tuli, Chair FICCI Power Committee & CEO-South Asia, Sembcorp Industries said, "The shift away from coal will have far reaching implications for the country. The action plan and cost of reskilling, redeploying and rehabilitating workers from the coal sector assumes importance at a national & multilateral level as part of India's just energy transition." During this transition, there is a need to balance development & decarbonization goals, while ensuring livelihoods of communities & workers dependent on the coal sector, he added.

Mr Shivanand Nimbargi, Co-Chair, FICCI Renewable Energy CEOs Council and MD & CEO, Ayana Power, advocated for a balanced way to transit from fossil-fuels usage towards Renewable Energy. He also said that industry needs to manage social impact while transiting to the Renewable energy away from coal.

Mr S Suresh Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal shared that to meet India's CoP26 commitments, India's move towards decarbonization, and adoption of Renewable Energy would entail reducing country's dependence on coal. He further added that best practices in skilling should be imparted to workers in coal sector. "States should formulate a National Plan to reskill people for the transition, ascertaining that 8-9 lakh people are employed in coal sector in West Bengal itself," he added.

Mr A K Rajput, Chief Engineer, R&D Division, Central Electricity Authority said, "By electrifying the rural areas in the country with distributed renewable energy technologies, the employment opportunities can be created at native places." He advocated for 'Just Transition' and shared that both the Central Government & State Governments will have a major role to play in deciding the long-term policy & ensuring smooth transition of jobs, as we move towards renewable energy.

Dr Vasantha Thakur, Director, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India highlighted the job opportunities in the renewable energy sector. "India, by enhancing the clean energy target from 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 to 500 GW of non-fossil fuel energy, with around 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030 will not only help to address the issue of climate change but would also increase the green jobs potential in the country," she added.  Dr Thakur further added that Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is focusing on dedicated skilling programmes at grass root level on developing skilling ecosystem in the country for the renewable energy ecosystem.

Mr P K Dubey, Director (Commercial), Madhya Pradesh Power Generating Co. Ltd. said, "Madhya Pradesh is expected to see investments of more than Rs 8 lakh crores across 1000+ projects for sectors like automobile, renewable energy, defense, IT, plastic, urban development & logistics, providing alternate employment opportunities to the workers of the coal ecosystem."

Mr M H Prasad, Executive director, Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company said, "Skilling and reskilling of mine workers will be of utmost importance. A roadmap for rehabilitation of workers in the state who will be affected by energy transition is under development."

The event had participation of key stakeholders of the sector from Policymakers, Representatives from Central & State Governments, Generation companies, Coal mining companies, Multilaterals, Financial Institutions among others. The speakers deliberated towards developing a framework for ensuring a successful Just Transition with focus on reskilling the workforce and preparing them for the transition.  

FICCI-EY & SED Fund launched a Report on 'Development of Skill Action Plan for fueling transition from coal to renewable energy ecosystem in India' during the webinar.

The webinar also had participation of Mr Pankaj Satija, Managing Director, Tata Steel Mining Ltd, Mr Kartikeya Singh, Director of Programmes, SED Fund, Mr Amit Vatsyayan, Partner and Leader (Social & Skills Sector) and Mr. Somesh Kumar, Partner and Leader (Power & Utilities) GPS, Ernst & Young

Key Highlights of the Report:

  • 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 the 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

The report outlines the skill action plans which will act as a blueprint/framework of actions to help design industry-relevant skilling and livelihood promotion interventions for the transitioning miners. These plans 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.

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