Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy’s recent comment about long working hours triggered a debate amongst internet users. In this podcast, V Nivedita from businessline is joined by Ashwini Deshpande, Head of the Department of Economics and Professor of Economics at Ashoka University, to discuss Indian work culture and productivity.

Recent data from the International Labour Organisation has revealed that employed Indians work an average of approximately 47.7 hours per week, one of the highest figures worldwide. Despite these extended work hours, India’s productivity rates remain comparatively low.

Deshpande explains how productivity can be measured for various inputs, such as labour and capital, and how it is vital for an economy. High labour productivity means that workers’ efforts contribute to increased output, potentially leading to higher GDP and economic growth.

However, the professor highlights that the productivity situation in India is not uniform across all sectors. India’s labour force predominantly engages in the informal sector, which varies in terms of conditions, technology, and capital. Consequently, making sweeping judgments about India’s labour productivity across all sectors is inaccurate.

She also explains how increasing work hours may enhance output but emphasizes the importance of considering broader consequences.

The podcast also addresses the predicament that many recent graduates face when they enter the workforce unprepared. Employers often discover that these young professionals lack the technical skills necessary for their roles, further impacting productivity.

In conclusion, the discussion acknowledges the existing job availability crisis in India. It iterates that the challenge is not solely about working hard but represents a more extensive issue encompassing productivity, employment opportunities, and social infrastructure.

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