Narayana Murthy’s Idea Of India’s Productivity And Work Hours Is Opposite To The Truth

ED Times
3 min readNov 1, 2023

By Pragya Damani:

In a recent podcast appearance, Infosys founder, NR Narayana Murthy sparked a heated debate by suggesting that Indian youngsters should work at least 70-hours a week to compete on a global scale. While the debate over the optimal number of working hours rages on, one critical aspect often overlooked is the productivity of Indian workers and the lack of sufficient capital to boost their efficiency.

The Call for Longer Work Hours

Narayana Murthy’s call for Indian youngsters to work 70 hours a week is a reflection of the urgency to improve India’s productivity. He emphasized that India’s work productivity is among the lowest globally, making it crucial for the workforce to step up its efforts. However, working longer hours is not the sole solution to this issue.

The Productivity Gap

As of 2015, India’s worker productivity stood at $6.46 per hour, which pales in comparison to countries like Japan ($36.22) and the United States ($59.77). The productivity gap is a significant challenge that cannot be addressed simply by extending working hours. Instead, it calls for a comprehensive approach that includes investments and improvements in various aspects.

The Role of Capital

The productivity of a workforce is intricately linked to the available capital. Investments in technology, infrastructure, and skill development are vital for enhancing efficiency. However, many Indian businesses struggle to access sufficient capital to make these investments. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, including the lack of available funds and the reluctance of lenders to extend credit.

The Need for Savings

To boost productivity, investments are crucial, and these investments are funded through savings. Indians need to save more to have the capital necessary to modernize their businesses, adopt innovative technologies, and improve their skill sets. Encouraging a culture of saving and responsible financial management is key to addressing this issue.

Reducing Bureaucratic Delays and Corruption

Apart from capital, addressing India’s bureaucratic delays and corruption is essential. These issues hinder decision-making and create inefficiencies that hamper productivity. Streamlining government processes and minimizing corruption can significantly enhance the business environment.

Balancing Work-Life

Working longer hours should not come at the cost of work-life balance. It’s important to recognize that sustainable productivity is achieved through a combination of factors, including efficient working hours, a conducive work environment, and personal well-being.

The plight of working Indians is a complex issue that goes beyond simply increasing the number of working hours. While NR Narayana Murthy’s call for greater work hours has its merits, it is imperative to address the underlying challenges that hinder productivity. Investments in technology, infrastructure, and skill development, alongside efforts to reduce bureaucratic delays and corruption, can significantly enhance India’s competitiveness on the global stage.

Moreover, encouraging a culture of saving and responsible financial management can empower Indian businesses and workers to thrive in an ever-evolving global economy. Balancing productivity and capital is the key to the future success of working Indians.

Originally published at on November 1, 2023.