India’s energy sector is under transition, owing to falling renewable energy prices, increasing prices of coal-based electricity, and increasing environmental pressures. Early signs of this transition are evident from the emerging trends in electricity generation capacity addition, and indicate a shift away from coal. However, this does not imply that India will stop depending on coal any time soon, but its share in the overall energy basket is expected to reduce. Given the critical importance of coal not only to the energy system, but also to various other aspects such as livelihoods and political economy in some parts of the country and to some sectors of the economy, the slow but inevitable transition away from coal will have many ramifications. It is important that this transition be understood well so that it can be fair and well managed, and its negative implications are minimised. Moreover, given the various linkages of the coal sector with other sectors, the transition is likely to be complex. Therefore, it would be prudent to begin exploring and understanding the various dimensions of this transition away from coal early on.

In this context, Prayas (Energy Group) and Centre for Policy Research organised a roundtable on 20 December 2019, to explore and understand the issues around India’s transition away from coal. The event was structured into three sessions on the broad and over-lapping themes of people and communities, resources and restoration, and finance and politics. The discussions at the roundtable highlighted some action points that need attention to enable a transition that is smooth, fair, and equitable.