Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy has said that India’s work culture needs to change and youngsters should be prepared to work for 70 hours a week if the country has to compete effectively on the global stage. The 77-year-old was speaking to former Infosys CEO Mohandas Pai on the first episode of 3one4 Capital’s podcast ‘The Record’. Mr Narayana Murthy drew parallels to Japan and Germany, countries that implemented the extended working hours. He also talked about other topics like nation building, technology, his company Infosys and others.
When asked about his vision for the next 10, 15 years, Mr Narayana Murthy highlighted a need to improve productivity in India and sort out the government delays.
“India’s work productivity is one of the lowest in the world. 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,” the Infosys founder said.
“So therefore, my request is that our youngsters must say ‘this is my country. I’d like to work 70 hours a week’,” he added.
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Mr Narayana Murthy then presented some historical examples – of Germany and Japan after the Second World War – to underline the critical role of discipline and enhanced productivity.
“This is exactly what the Germans and Japanese did after the Second World War… they made sure that every German worked extra hours for a certain number of years,” Mr Narayana Murthy said on the podcast.
He said it is very important for our youngsters to transform since they form a “significant majority of our population” and “are the ones who can build our country”.
“We need to be disciplined and improve our work productivity. I think unless we do that, what can poor government do? And every government is as good as the culture of the people. And our culture has to change to that of highly determined, extremely disciplined and extremely hard-working people,” Mr Narayana Murthy added.
His comments sparked a debate among users on social media.
“Agree with him… work 40 hours for your employer and 30 hours for your own interests,” commented one user.
“Completely disagree about the 70 hours a week! According to the 70 hours work week we will be the best country, but at what cost? What will that individual achieve after working 70 hours a week? Good health? Good family? Good companion? Happiness? Fulfillment? What will the individual achieve? If the individual is aiming for success after working 70 hours a week, I would like that individual to define success?” asked another.
“Then companies also need to pay on hourly basis… Indian companies won’t do that,” a third user said.