Rishi Sunak’s billionaire father-in-law has sparked outrage in India after saying young people should work 70 hours a week to “help the country”.
Software tycoon NR Narayana Murthy made the remarks in a business podcast in which he also complained that young Indians are acquiring “not-so-desirable habits of the West.”
He lamented that labor productivity in India is “one of the lowest in the world” and added that “unless we improve our labor productivity… we will not be able to compete with those countries that have made enormous progress.”
‘Therefore, my request is that our young people say: ‘This is my country.’ I’d like to work 70 hours a week,’ she said.
The controversial comments sparked backlash online, with critics pointing out the low starting salaries and long hours endured by the country’s young people.
Some business leaders have backed his calls for greater productivity, while his wife defended the comments by saying her husband has worked even more than 70 hours a week during his successful career.
NR Narayana Murthy complained that Indian youth are acquiring “not so desirable habits of the West”
Software tycoon NR Narayana Murthy made these remarks on business podcast The Record
In the United Kingdom, where Mr Murthy’s son-in-law is Prime Minister, the working time directive states that employees must not work more than 48 hours a week on average
“He’s been working 80 to 90 hours a week, so he doesn’t know how much less is,” Sudha Murty told News 18.
‘He believes in really hard work and lived like that. That’s why he told what he felt.’
In the United Kingdom, where Mr. Murthy’s son-in-law is Prime Minister, the working time directive states that employees should not work more than 48 hours a week on average.
Employee working hours have become a hot topic in India, and the pandemic caused a change in attitude as people were increasingly able to work from home, but also slowed the economy, as happened elsewhere. with successive closures.
Earlier this year, the Tamil Nadu state government was forced to withdraw a bill that would have allowed working hours in factories to increase from eight to 12 hours following angry protests and protests by opposition politicians. .
A health expert took to X to criticize the suggestion, arguing that overwork is leading to deteriorating health among young Indians.
‘There is no time to socialize, there is no time to talk to family, there is no time to exercise, there is no time for recreation. Not to mention, companies also expect people to respond to emails and calls after working hours,” wrote Dr Deepak Krishnamurthy, a cardiologist in Bengaluru.
Sudha Murthy defended the comments saying that her husband has worked even more than 70 hours a week during his successful career.
‘So I wonder why young people suffer heart attacks?’
Meanwhile, Mumbai-based businesswoman Radhika Gupta argued that Indian women have long worked “well over 70 hours a week to build India,” and their time has been consumed by both office work and In the home.
Entrepreneur and filmmaker Ronnie Screwvala argued that Mr Murthy’s suggestion was not the best way to increase workflow efficiency.
‘Boosting productivity is not just about working more hours. It’s about getting better at what you do: improving your skills, having a positive work environment and fair compensation for the work done.
“Quality of work done > log more hours,” he wrote on X in response to comments.
However, another tech heavyweight supported Mr. Murthy’s argument, writing in the company but work 30 hours for yourself. .
‘Invest the 10,000 hours that make you a master in your subject… burn your eyelashes until midnight and become an expert in your field. THOSE are 70 hours of work that can differentiate you as a young person and, in the process, your country.’
This is not the first time Murthy has suggested Indians increase their working hours.
He also faced criticism in 2020 for suggesting they should build up a minimum of 64 hours a week for two or three years to offset the economic slowdown caused by the Covid pandemic.
Murthy is one of the richest men in India; He comes from a middle-class background and amasses personal wealth of more than £3bn.
He is the father of Akshata Murty, who met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak while studying at Stanford University in the United States.
His daughter, a wealthy businesswoman in her own right whose personal fortune is worth approximately £1 billion, recently described her values of “hard work, humility and selflessness”.