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Kotak CEO Says Work 12 hrs/day For India's Growth, Economist Agrees

Nilesh Shah, Kotak CEO, suggests India's growth requires a generation adopting a 12-hour daily work ethic, like in Korea, Japan, and China. Economist Sanjeev Sanyal agrees.

By Rashaad Ather
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Kotak CEO Nilesh Shah (left) And Economist Sanjeev Sanyal (right)

Kotak CEO Nilesh Shah (left) And Economist Sanjeev Sanyal (right)

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Nilesh Shah, Kotak CEO, believes if India wants to accelerate its growth, one generation should adopt the intense work ethic seen in countries like Korea, Japan, and China, where people often work 12-hour days. 

Speaking on the "Invest Aaj For Kal with Anant Ladha" podcast, Shah stated, "We need to work 12 hours per day for 365 days."

Balancing Hard Work and Family:

Economist Sanjeev Sanyal agreed, emphasizing the need for hard work while also prioritizing family and sustainable practices. 

He noted, "One generation will have to put in that effort... and also remember to procreate. It is doable (with the occasional break). We are that generation and perhaps the next one."

On X, one user criticized excessively long work hours and said: "70-hour week. 84-hour week. It’s just a number, right? Forget family, leisure, and health. Just work and pay taxes." 

This debate was sparked by Narayana Murthy's earlier suggestion of a 70-hour work week, which drew mixed reactions from business owners and the public.

Industriousness & Economic Growth: Is There A Link?

There's a complex relationship between worker productivity and economic growth. While productivity boosts can enhance economic value, prosperity doesn't always trickle down to workers.

From 1980 to 2015, India's GDP surged from $200 billion to over $2,000 billion. Despite this growth, income distribution shifted dramatically. The middle and lower income groups saw their share of national income drop, while the top 10% saw their share nearly double.

The richest 0.001% experienced a 2040% increase, highlighting a disconnect between income gains and productivity. This disparity often stems from wealth inheritance or arbitrarily high salaries among top executives, not increased productivity.