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Business News/ Economy / From 60 hours in 2020, Narayana Murthy now suggests a 70-hour work week for youngsters: Where will he go next?
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From 60 hours in 2020, Narayana Murthy now suggests a 70-hour work week for youngsters: Where will he go next?

Three years down the line, the Infosys founder has now added 10 extra hours to the weekly-work log target as an advice for young Indians, noting that India's work productivity is one of the lowest in the world.

N R Narayana Murthy, Infosys Chief Mentor in the Infosys head quarter in Bangalore,(Pic by Hemant Mishra/Mint).Premium
N R Narayana Murthy, Infosys Chief Mentor in the Infosys head quarter in Bangalore,(Pic by Hemant Mishra/Mint).

Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy has raised his expectations from India's youngsters in terms of productivity, saying that young Indians should work for a minimum of 70 hours per week if the country wants to compete with emerging economies. 

The billionaire tech founder made similar comments in an interview with a news channel three years ago, when he suggested that youngsters should put in 60 hours per week for the next two to three years in order to revive the Indian economy.

In an interview with ET Now in 2020, Murthy said, ‘’Indians would have to learn to live with coronavirus for the next 12-18 months, companies will need to take precautions, and overall, Indians would have to put in more work and more hours to put the economy on a track again.'' 

Also Read: Narayana Murthy pitches for change in India's work culture, says ‘youngsters should work for 70 hours a week if…’

Notably, the comments by the tech leader then came at a time when the first wave of COVID-19 had gripped the country into an economic slowdown. Murthy explained that to pull the Indian economy out of the slump that had resulted from the COVID-19 lockdown, Indians should vow to work longer and harder.

“We should take a pledge that we will work ten hours a day, six days a week - as against 40 hours a week - for the next 2-3 years so that we can fast-track and grow the economy much faster. On the side of the government, they should appoint a committee of well-respected and accomplished people to advise them on how to remove hassles for these businesses, like during the economic reforms of 1991. If we did these two, by and large, we will come out of this much stronger," Murthy said in 2020.

Three years down the line, the Infosys founder has now added 10 extra hours to the weekly work log target as advice for young Indians, noting that India's work productivity was one of the lowest in the world.

The remarks came during an episode of the first episode of 3one4 Capital’s podcast ‘The Record’ that was aired earlier this week, where Murthy spoke about nation-building, technology, his company Infosys, and several other topics – including his opinion on today’s youth.

"Somehow our youth has the habit of taking not-so-desirable habits from the West, and then… not helping the country…Unless we improve our work productivity, unless we reduce corruption in the government at some level, because we have been reading I don't know the truth of it, unless we reduce the delays in our bureaucracy in taking this decision, we will not be able to compete with those countries that have made tremendous progress. Therefore, my request is that our youngsters must say, this is my country, I’d like to work 70 hours a week," said Narayana Murthy in a conversation with former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai.

Murthy added that in order to compete with countries like China, India’s youngsters must put in extra hours of work – as Japan and Germany did after World War 2.

“…Transformation has to come to youngsters because youngsters form a significant majority of our population at this point in time, and they are the ones who can build our country," Narayana Murthy said concluding his point.

Also Read: India Inc divided as Narayana Murthy calls for 70 hour work week; Bhavish Aggarwal, Ronnie Screwvala weigh in

Murthy's remarks on India's low work productivity and suggestions over the 70-hour work week sparked a buzz on social media, inviting polarised views from India Inc. On one hand, Ola Cabs co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal seconded Narayana Murthy's viewpoint and said 'It's our moment to go all in and build in one generation what other countries built over many generations.'

Whereas some business leaders and entrepreneurs opposed the idea and asserted that it is more about getting better at what one does as the quality of work is more valuable than putting in more hours.

upGrad founder Ronnie Screwvala said, “Boosting productivity isn't just about working longer hours. It's about getting better at what you do - Upskilling, having a positive work environment, and fair pay for the work done. Quality of work done > clocking in more hours.''

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Published: 27 Oct 2023, 06:54 AM IST
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