A 70-Hour Workweek: The Debate on Increasing Working Hours
Context: The national debate in India about extending working hours, influenced by global trends and the example of countries like China and South Korea, is gaining momentum. However, this approach might not be the most effective for enhancing productivity.
• Historical Shift: Earlier, the focus was on reducing work hours globally, with countries like France and Germany now having around 1,500 hours annually.
• India’s Current Scenario: Indian workers already rank high globally in weekly work hours, with an average of 47.7 hours.
• Productivity vs. Hours: India’s productivity per hour ($8.7) is lower than many other nations, suggesting that longer hours may not translate into higher productivity.
• Focus on Productivity: Enhancing productivity through better technologies, skilled labor, and more efficient production methods should be the priority rather than increasing working hours.
The debate on extending work hours overlooks the importance of improving labor productivity. Instead of longer hours, India should focus on technological advancement, skill development, and sectoral shifts to enhance productivity.
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