Environmental News from India:
Proper implementation of government relief schemes, the impact of heat on workers, and flexible working hours should all be looked into, say experts.
Extreme weather has been part of our reality for a few years now. Summers, particularly, has been unforgiving for all, but acutely so for workers engaged in outdoor, physical labor — forget work from home, they don’t even have the option of moving indoors even amid killer heatwaves.
These are the people who keep the wheels of the economy turning: Transporting our goods from point A to B, delivering services at the doorstep, and building infrastructure. Most anyway, live on subsistence-level wages.
Down To Earth spoke to experts who were unanimous in their views that India needed to ramp up efforts to protect its labor force as heatwaves became more intense and prolonged.
Providing access to medical facilities and saving livelihoods should be the country’s focus, they added.
In 2021, 47.1 million people were a part of India’s labor force, according to the World Bank. Between July and September last year, the percentage of laborers in urban areas was roughly 47 percent, Indian government data showed.