Narayana Murthy now says he worked 85-90 hours: ‘That has not been a waste’
Months after suggesting that youngsters in India must work for at least 70 hours a week, Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy has said he himself had put in the hours when setting up his company. In an interview to The Economic Times, Murthy said till 1994, he worked over 85 to 90 hours a week.
“I used to be in the office at 6:20am and leave office at 8:30pm and worked six days a week,” he told ET in the interview. “I know every nation that became prosperous did so through hard work.”
He said his parent taught him that the only way to escape poverty was to work “very, very hard”. He, however, added that this is when one gets the productivity from each work hour.
“During my entire 40-plus years of professional life, I worked 70 hours a week,” he reiterated. “When we had a six-day week – till 1994 – I used to work at least 85 to 90 hours a week. That has not been a waste.”
Earlier, in a conversation with Infosys former CFO Mohandas Pai in October, Murthy said India needs to boost work productivity if it wishes to compete with the fastest-growing countries like China and Japan.
Murthy made the remarks while appearing on the first episode of 3one4 Capital’s podcast ‘The Record’.
“After the Second World War, the people of Germany and Japan worked for extra hours for the sake of their country. The youngsters in India also own the country and work hard for the sake of our economy,” Murthy noted.
Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal agreed with Murthy, saying it is not “our moment to work less and entertain ourselves”.
In a social media post on X, Aggawal said, “Totally agree with Mr Murthy’s views. It’s not our moment to work less and entertain ourselves. Rather it’s our moment to go all in and build in 1 generation what other countries have built over many generations!”
Industrialist Sajjan Jindal also said he wholeheartedly endorsed Murthy’s statement, adding that a five-day week culture is not what a rapidly developing country like India needs.
However, many on social media were not entirely in agreement with the tech billionaire, with film producer Ronnie Screwvala noting that “boosting productivity isn’t just about working longer hours.”
Murthy’s advice also found a mention during the ongoing winter session of Parliament which commenced on Monday. Three Lok Sabha MPs asked the Narendra Modi government whether it is evaluating the suggestion posed by the Infosys co-founder.
Rameswar Teli, the minister of state (MoS) for labour and employment, however, replied: “No such proposal is under consideration of Government of India”.