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Lancet countdown report

Published: 6th Dec, 2018

The Lancet report has outlined India’s vulnerability to heat waves and has urged policymakers to go for policy restructuring in this regard.


The Lancet report has outlined India’s vulnerability to heat waves and has urged policymakers to go for policy restructuring in this regard.


Heat waves

According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) heat wave is considered if maximum temperature of a place reaches at least

  • 40°C or more for plains,
  • 37°C or more for coastal stations and
  • 30°C or more for hilly regions.

Lancet Countdown Report

  • It studied India’s vulnerability to heat waves, specifically its adverse effect on man work hours in industries and productivity in agriculture.
  • It has collaborated and analyzed data between 2012 and 2016. Following are the key findings of the report:
    • From 2014-2017, the average length of heatwaves in India ranged from 3-4 dayscompared to the global average of 0.8-1.8.
    • Heatwaves are associated with increased rates of heat stress and heat stroke, worsening heart failure and acute kidney injury from dehydration. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing morbidities are particularly vulnerable.
    • A recent report has placed India amongst the countries which have experienced high social and economic costs from climate change. Across all sectors, India lost almost 75,000 million hours of labour in 2017.
    • The agriculture sector was more vulnerable compared to the industrial and service sectors because workers there were more likely to be exposed to heat.
    • As per IMD’s report, there was an increase of more than 0.5°C in mean temperature between 1901 and 2007.
    • Research groups have projected a 2.2-5.5°C rise in temperatures across northern, central and western India with variations considering geographical variation and different climatic regions of the country by the end of the 21st century.
  • Lancet study has recommendation a series of measures to contain this problem. They include-
    • Identification of heat wave hotspots, using collaboration of technology and metrological data.
    • Cluster wise and region wise approach for mitigation of heat wave menace and timely implementation oflocal heat action plans.
    • Standard occupational health standards to be implemented to increase efficiency of employees and increase man hours.
    • Inter-agency consideration for better implementation ofheat wave mitigation plan.


  • Heat waves are a form of disaster for many regions of the country including Thar, Telangana Plateau, Dandkaranya and places of Northern plains.
  • Heat waves accompanied by Loo winds in northern India claims hundreds of lives every year.
  • Proper implementation of mitigation plans will not only save lives but also increase productivity of different sectors such as agriculture, industry, service sector etc.
  • Apart from it, proper implementation of mitigation plans will add on to human capital resources as better environment is a primary condition to develop better resources.
  • Under article 21,‘Right to clean and healthy environment’ has been granted as a fundamental right in India. Hence, state must ensure better implementation of plan to protect fundamental rights of citizens.

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