Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy has a suggestion to compensate for the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus lockdown: Indians should work for sixty hours minimum in a week for the next two to three years.
Murthy was addressing a virtual audience comprising industry executives and businessmen at ET Unwired, an event organised by Economic Times when he said this. During his speech, Murthy said that India cannot sustain such a lockdown situation for too long and that very soon, the number of deaths caused by hunger will exceed the Covid-19 deaths.
At the event, Murthy also said that at least 9 million people die in India every year and if one is to compare that with the number of deaths caused by Covid-19, there is not much reason to panic.
As of now, India has crossed 35,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and over 1100 deaths.
Murthy also spoke at length about the impact of lockdown on industries and how if this continues, a majority of Indians would find themselves without a job in the near future.
Apart from suggesting that people should work more than 60 hours a week, Murthy also recommended that offices should consider introducing shifts in order to maintain social distancing in the workplace.
However, not everyone is happy with the recommendation. Most people around the country, irrespective of the sector, have been working from home during the lockdown. And while that is not always a bed of roses, people are indeed working hard (and often overtime) to ensure that productivity doesn't suffer.
There was some appreciation for his suggestion of overtime.
Always has my respect. Sir Narayan Murthy. 🙏 https://t.co/5mjpIpFucv
— LiveLetLive (@IChooseHapiness) April 30, 2020
Very good suggestion by great Narayan Murthy https://t.co/dRBllU6G95 — MAHENDRA JAIN (@mahendra3) April 30, 2020
Some pointed out that Indians already work that long.
I think, he is not aware or just ignoring the ground reality,
Over 70% of people work in unorganised sectors, and they work over 60 hours a week, without PF and social security.
I am not even counting people who work as a farm labour or rickshaw pullers. https://t.co/irvaXCrVTC
— NewAgeIndian (@TheNewAgeIndian) May 1, 2020
in Infosys, peoples already work 72-80 hrs...!!#Infosys #narayanamurthy — The DK Shi (@DKShi5) May 1, 2020
#narayanamurthy should be ashamed of giving a thought of Indians working for 60 hours a week.. where IT people are already stressed out with 45 hours/week and he forgot the suicides which happen in his own company. #ShameOnYou #infosys — Who_Cares (@FaiZe_shaikh) May 1, 2020
Mr Murthy- "Work for 60 hours a week" Consultants- "Who are these people who weren't working 60 hours before?" Labor- "Aao kabhi haveli pe" Farmers- "Cute" — Sagartumsathho (@chholekulchey) May 1, 2020
Some of them had other suggestions for Mr Murthy.
Pay us for 60 hours the economy will automatically revive 🙄 https://t.co/Vx1GbfHfr3
— Harini Calamur (#StayHome) (@calamur) April 30, 2020
Maybe rich CEOs and Chairmans should work 75 hours a week. So that they can pay their employees for 60. — Vir Das (@thevirdas) April 30, 2020
#Narayanamurthy should pay 60% extra tax for next 3 years to revive the economy. And also stop exploitation of workers. Bloody capitalist — Roberto Carlos (@UP_Bihar) April 30, 2020
I have a better solution Murthy. India's top 63 billionaires have more wealth than the 2019 Union Budget. And India's top 1% owns 58% of India's wealth. Let's redistribute their wealth to revive economy. 99% wins and loss for just 1%. You are part of that 1%. https://t.co/Vbp6RihB0S — Advaid (അദ്വൈത്) (@Advaidism) April 30, 2020
Why is #Narayanamurthy taking like a GDP economist? There are many kinds of tech-billionaires. Cautionary Bill Gates type, Foolhardy Elon Musk type, and Indian penny pinching, rent-seeking Murthy type. — Dinesh Mahapatra (@DineshM90) May 1, 2020
Uncle akele akele? Puff puff pass bro #narayanamurthy https://t.co/6f6zInGHsC — Ayaz (@ayo402) May 1, 2020
Meanwhile, some came to Murthy's defence.
The amount of hate Narayana Murthy is getting for suggesting longer work weeks is baffling.
What happened to the concept of unleashing our animal spirits and working harder to offset an economic setback? Isn’t that how capitalism works? Isn’t that how wealth is created? 1/n
— Yatin (@VaadaVivaada) April 30, 2020