Prelims cum Mains

How global warming could impact jobs in India

In News:

  • The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has recently released its report ‘Working on a Warmer Planet: The Impact of Heat Stress on Labour Productivity and Decent Work’.
  • According to the report, India is expected to lose an equivalent of 34 million jobs by 2030 as a result of global warming.

About Heat Stress

  • Heat stress occurs when our body is unable to cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature.
  • Normally, the body cools itself by sweating, but sometimes sweating isn’t enough and the body temperature keeps rising.
  • Heat stress is generally occurring at above 35 degrees Celsius, in places where there is high humidity.
  • Excess heat during work is an occupational health risk and restricts workers’ physical functions and capabilities, work capacity and thus, productivity.


Report Summary

  • According to the ILO, Heat stress affects outdoor workers such as those engaged in agriculture and on construction sites. Excess heat at work is an occupational health risk and in extreme cases can lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal.
  • Projections are based on a global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees C by the end of the 21st century, and also on labour force trends.

Loss of working hours

  • By 2030, the equivalent of more than two per cent of total working hours worldwide is projected to be lost every year, either because it is too hot to work or because workers have to work at a slower pace.
  • This will cause a productivity loss equivalent to 80 million full-time job.

Financial Loss due to heat stress

  • The accumulated global financial loss due to heat stress is expected to reach USD 2,400 billion by 2030.

Most affected area

  • Countries in Southern Asia are the most affected by heat stress in the Asia and the Pacific region
  • By 2030, the impact of heat stress on labour productivity is expected to be even more pronounced.

National-level GDP losses

  • National-level GDP losses are projected to be substantial in 2030, with reductions in GDP of more than five per cent expected to occur in Thailand, Cambodia, India and Pakistan due to heat stress.

Note: In addition to the massive economic costs of heat stress, there can be inequality between low and high income countries and worsening working conditions for the most vulnerable, as well as displacement of people.


Impact on India

  • According to the report, the country most affected by heat stress is India, which lost 4.3 per cent of working hours in 1995 and is projected to lose 5.8 per cent of working hours in 2030.
  • Because of large population, India is in absolute terms expected to lose the equivalent of 34 million full-time jobs in 2030 in productivity as a result of heat stress.
  • Most of the impact of heat stress in India will be felt in the agricultural sector and the construction sector, where heat stress affects both male and female workers.
  • The report projects losses in working hours as 9.04% in agriculture (in shade), 5.29% in manufacturing, 9.04% in construction, and 1.48% in services.


Way ahead

  • To adapt to this new reality appropriate measures by governments, employers and workers, focusing on protecting the most vulnerable, are urgently needed


About International Labour Organization (ILO):

  • It was established in
  • It is an UN agency that sets international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all.
  • Head Quarter : Geneva, Switzerland
  • India is a founder member of ILO
  • Aim: To promote social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights.
  • Functions: It sets labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
  • Nobel Prize: in 1969

Note: The ILO registers complaints but do not impose sanctions on governments on violating international rules.

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