This document summarizes learnings from a large-scale pilot involving the design, implementation, and evaluation of a pollution disclosure and ratings scheme for industrial plants, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Known as the Maharashtra Star Rating Scheme, the project builds upon a recent history of legal reform in India that has strengthened the public
right to information. India’s Right to Information Act (2005) enables citizens to access several types data from the state, including – in theory – data on plant emissions.

The Maharashtra Star Rating Scheme was launched on 5th June 2017 by the Chief Minister of the state. This project represents the first initiative in India in which plants have been mandatorily rated based on legally actionable government tests of pollution.

These ratings are publicly disclosed on the Scheme website (mpcb.info). The state of Maharashtra is one of the most industrialized states in India and the StarRating scheme targets large plants with capital investments exceeding 25 crore INR and belonging to the Cement, Chemicals, Metal Works, Paper,
Pharmaceuticals, Power, Sugar and Distilleries or Textiles sector. There were just under 1,000 such plants in the state when the pilot began.

From this initial population, a randomly chosen subset of “treatment” plants were gradually phased into the ratings scheme. Those plants not selected for initial inclusion in the ratings scheme form a statistically
identical “control group” that can be compared with rated plants in the treatment. Following the completion of the pilot evaluation, control plants will also be integrated into the public ratings regime. The design of the pilot makes it well suited to conduct a rigorous evaluation of this type of disclosure and ratings regime.

Read the report here