Work 60 hr-week to outdo economic slump: Infy founder

Indians should pledge to work 60 hours a week to outdo economic slump from coronavirus: Infosys founder Narayana Murthy

The country must accept the coronavirus as new normal, Murthy said

Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy. Credit: DH photo

India could see more deaths from hunger than the novel coronavirus if it continues to remain in lockdown, according to Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy. The country must accept the coronavirus as the new normal and facilitate the return-to-work of the able-bodied while protecting the most vulnerable, Murthy told ET Now in an interview.

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"Let data leaders make the decisions, we should not rely on opinions," said Murthy, opining that there should have been more data, research analysis ubiquitously to assess the uniqueness of the COVID-19 issue in India and how to work around it strategically instead of being emotionally driven. Coronavirus must become a data-driven issue so that meaningful conclusions can be derived without damaging the economy or compromising on the health of the population, he added.

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Corporates and businesses must also be adequately equipped and take precautions for the governments to allow them to function. Work may have to be scaled down and more shifts added to make social distancing feasible because the coronavirus will have to be accounted for in everyday life at least for the next 12-18 months, Murthy said.

Commenting on the testing capacity in India, Murthy said that even if India tests one lakh people a day, it would take 37 years to test everyone. He said that there is no vaccine in sight and pointed out that even if there was one in the near future, we do not know how or if it will work on Indian genes. 

Indians should also vow to work longer and harder, Murthy stated, specifying that Indians should pledge to work 10 hours a day for six days a week for the next two to three years to fast-track the country’s economic growth.

Working 60 hours a week as opposed to 40 will ensure that we are able to bring the nation out of its economic slump faster, he said. He added that entrepreneurs should put in at least 10 hours a day to come up with solutions to combat the virus and balance it with work.

On the work-from-home culture, Murthy said that productivity standards would have to be defined. "Unless those standards of productivity are adhered to, work from home may not work in the case of Indians," Murthy said. "Once the productivity standard has been defined for each designation, then you can work from anywhere you want."