Billionaire businessman says young Indians should work 70 hours a week
- Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy said young Indians should work 70 hours a week.
- He said they need to become "highly determined, extremely disciplined, and extremely hardworking."
One of India's top business leaders said that young Indians need to grind out 70-hour workweeks if they want to see their country realize its economic potential.
"My request is that our youngsters must say: 'This is my country. I want to work 70 hours a week," N.R. Narayana Murthy, the 77-year-old founder of information technology giant Infosys, said in a recent interview with former Infosys CFO T.V. Mohandas Pai.
Murthy, who cofounded Infosys in 1981 and has a net worth of around $4.3 billion, according to Forbes, said that India has one of the lowest productivity levels in the world and that it was the responsibility of the country's youth to drive changes in its work culture.
Around 66% per cent of India's population is under the age of 35, according to figures from the International Labour Organization (ILO).
"Our culture has to change to that of highly determined, extremely disciplined, and extremely hardworking people," Murthy told Pai.
He added that it was an opportune time to "consolidate and accelerate" the country's economic progress because India was beginning to receive global recognition for its fast-growing economy, which is on pace to become the world's second-largest economy by 2075.
But Indians already work some of the longest hours of any nationality, averaging around 47.7 hours per week per employed person, according to the ILO. That puts India seventh in the global ranking, with only Qatar, Congo, Lesotho, Bhutan, Gambia, and the United Arab Emirates averaging more, per the ILO.
Murthy's comments have thus stirred a debate on social media, with some saying that taking his advice might backfire and lead to burnout.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, tech entrepreneur Vishal Gondal wrote: "Respectfully, Narayana Murthy ji, while hard work is crucial, a 70-hr work week may risk burnout and stifle creativity."
"Empowering minds, not exhausting them, fuels the innovation that places nations at the pinnacle of global advancement," he added.
Respectfully, Narayana Murthy ji, while hard work is crucial, a 70-hr work week may risk burnout and stifle creativity. In the #AI and #tech era, fostering a healthy work-life balance can drive innovation and productivity, making India a global competitor.— Vishal Gondal (@vishalgondal) October 26, 2023
Empowering minds, not… https://t.co/PoeyUvm2pl
A time-use survey taken in 2019 found that Indian women spent around 299 minutes a day on housework and 134 minutes on caregiving duties, while men spent just 97 minutes carrying out household tasks and 76 minutes on caregiving.
"With this statement, Mr. Murthy is essentially pushing women out of the workplace," one woman said in an X post, adding that, "men are never going to share the load of housekeeping, caregiving and childrearing."
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