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India Ranks Eighth in Global Working Hours, Sparking Debate on Workweek

Indians rank eighth globally in terms of the number of working hours worked per week, averaging 47.7 hours. According to a 2018 International Labour Organisation (ILO) report, the only countries with longer average working hours than India are Qatar, Congo, Lesotho, Bhutan, Gambia, and the United Arab Emirates. The ILO report is important, particularly in light of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy’s argument in favour of India adopting a 70-hour workweek.

India has the longest average work week among the world’s ten largest economies. In light of these findings, the ILO is even preparing a special report on working hours tailored to India.

As per the report, there is an inverse relationship between prosperity and weekly working hours. In other words, countries with shorter working hours tend to have higher per capita GDP. India has the highest weekly working hours among the top 10 economies and yet one of the lowest per capita GDP figures.

Compared to other top economies, France has the shortest workweek (30.1 hours), but it also has one of the greatest per capita GDPs ($55,493; Rs. 46,16,620), indicating a more successful and productive economy.

Narayana Murthy recently brought attention to the fact that India’s labour productivity is less than that of several other nations. He proposed that the younger generation in India take up the 70-hour workweek, which was a post-World War II economic recovery model employed by Japan and Germany. A variety of reactions were elicited by Mr. Murthy’s statements; some expressed agreement with his concept, while others disagreed.

Many industrialists backed Narayana Murthy’s proposal for a 70-hour work week, arguing that India required its citizens to work longer hours than usual.

Similarly, Tech Mahindra MD and CEO CP Gurnani said that Narayana Murthy’s wasn’t “limited to the company.” “Have been reading about the outrage to Narayana Murthy’s 70-hour work statement… I believe when he talks of work, it’s not limited to the company… it extends to yourself and your country,” he wrote in a post on X.

“He hasn’t said work 70 hours for the company – work 40 hours for the company but work 30 hours for yourself… Invest the 10,000 hours that make one a master in one’s subject…burn the midnight oil and become an expert in your field,” Gurmani added. 

Former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai, on whose podcast Murthy made the suggestion, also backed him saying his advice was for youngsters, especially people below the age of 30.

Mukesh Bansal, the founder of successful startups like Myntra and CureFit, said it is a personal choice. In a post on LinkedIn, he said, “First of all, it is a personal choice; health is important, family is important, career is important, and peace of mind is important. People need to know what matters in what priority order and then choose accordingly.”

”Companies demanding 70 hours/week need to also create proportional upside. You can’t demand 70 hours of work at 40 hours salary. That’s just not fair,” he said.

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Source: NDTV

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