There are two different time zones in India.

September 2022: Most Recent Revision Time Zones, Time Standards, GMT, IST, Atomic Clocks, the Circadian Rhythm, and Daylight Saving Time are all topics you should know for your upcoming exams. Mains: India's dual time zones, the difficulty of implementing a single time zone in

September 2022: Most Recent Revision

Time Zones, Time Standards, GMT, IST, Atomic Clocks, the Circadian Rhythm, and Daylight Saving Time are all topics you should know for your upcoming exams.

Mains: India's dual time zones, the difficulty of implementing a single time zone in the Northeast, and possible alternatives to India's current system of multiple time zones

Is There a Reason for This Story to Be Reported?

The National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL), which is responsible for the upkeep of Indian Standard Time (IST), published a study in 2018 detailing why two time zones are necessary.

  • The Scottish-Canadian engineer Sir Sandford Fleming proposed the modern system of time zones in 1879.
    • The 24-hour day was officially adopted in 1884 at the International Meridian Conference.
  • Due to Earth's rotation and revolution around the Sun, local times vary across the globe.
    • Time advances by one hour for every 15 degrees that the Earth rotates on its axis; a full rotation of 360 degrees results in 24 hours.
    • This results in 24 time zones, each of which is an hour ahead of the others.

The Standard Time in India: What Do We Know?

  • About:
    • The 82°E longitude is the foundation of Indian Standard Time (IST). The 5° latitude line, which traverses Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh (India), close to Allahabad
    • Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
    • Using a total of five caesium atomic clocks, the CSIR-NIPL (New Delhi) serves as India's official timekeeper.
  • History:
    • During the reign of the British, time zones were introduced to India in 1884. India had three major time zones before its independence: Bombay Time, Calcutta Time, and Madras Time.
      • Like many other systems inherited from the British, Indian Standard Time is an antiquated relic.
    • In 1906, India had just one IST that traversed the country from north to south.


I don't understand the point of having two time zones.

  • Extensive Landmass: India is the World's Largest Country Without Any Time Zones (Behind Only China).
    • In Arunachal Pradesh, India is located at 97°25'E, and in Gujarat, it is located at 68°7'E, so the country spans nearly 30 degrees of longitude, more than enough for two time zones.
  • Because of their location, the northeastern region of India (NER) and the Andaman and Nicobar islands (ANI) experience earlier sunrises and sunsets than the rest of the country. This helped fuel the need for two time zones.
    • Because of the single time zone, the NER has long lamented the loss of potentially productive daylight—the sun rises as early as 4 am in the summer, while government offices don't open until 10 am.
  • Humans have biological clocks that are in sync with the daily light-dark cycles, and many people in India work on a time zone that is not suitable for their diurnal cycle.
    • Kanyakumari, Kavaratti, and Ghuar Mota benefit greatly from the current IST; Alipurduar, Kolkata, Gangtok, Mirzapur, and Gilgitum can make do with it; Dong and Port Blair, on the other hand, are in dire need of a change.
  • CSIR Recommendations: In 2006, the former Planning Commission suggested splitting the country in half between two time zones. The request has been supported by the CSIR-NPL, which has proposed two ISTs, each an hour apart.
    • In most of India (between longitudes 68°7′E and 89°52′E), local time is IST-I.
    • IST-II in the Northern Hemisphere, encompassing the latitudes 89°52′E to 97°25′E area.
  • The 24-hour cycle known as circadian rhythm regulates many bodily functions, including when we sleep, wake up, and eat.
  • One's internal body clock, which is influenced by environmental cues like sunlight and temperature, determines whether one feels alert and awake or drowsy and sleepy.
  • Jeffrey C As Michael W. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael D. In 2017, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was given to Young for their research on the molecular mechanisms regulating circadian rhythm.

What are the Consequences of Having Two Time Zones?

  • Advantages:
    • The result would be a more productive workforce and reduced energy waste.
      • Having two time zones is beneficial economically because it allows people to work and plan around their biological rhythms.
      • In reality, Assam's tea plantations have their own unofficial time zone (Chaibagaan Time) that is one hour ahead of IST.
    • Environmentally friendly: Moving IST forward by half an hour would save 2 million gallons of water per year. 7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year could be saved by taking advantage of unused daylight.
      • Due to a severe power shortage, it is crucial for the Indian economy that its citizens learn to conserve electricity.
        • CSIR-NPL estimates that by switching to two time zones, India could save one trillion rupees in electricity costs annually.
      • India's carbon footprint can be reduced significantly through energy conservation, strengthening the country's resolve to combat climate change.
    • Benefits to Society Having two time zones helps society in many ways. For example, it decreases traffic accidents and increases the security of women.
      • More so, studies show that people living in nations with multiple time zones are better able to evaluate their own abilities and make adjustments accordingly, leading to better overall performance.
        • Positive results occurred when employees adjusted their eating, sleeping, and working schedules in response to the time zone change.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Office hours that don't sync up, bank hours that aren't convenient, and the potential for more frequent railway accidents due to a lack of consistency in start and end times all contribute to a lack of timing
      • To successfully implement two time zones, railway traffic must be synchronized to avoid complete chaos.
        • Because most people in this region travel by land rather than air, this would cause scheduling issues for those who rely on them.
    • With such high rates of illiteracy and general lack of knowledge, dividing the country into two distinct time zones would cause widespread confusion. Every time you crossed a time zone, you'd have to set your watch again.
      • It would also be difficult to clearly delineate the boundary between the two areas.
    • Two time zones may have unfavorable political effects on India, which is already deeply divided along religious, caste, racial, linguistic, and other lines. , which will be split up along Time Zone lines
      • The implementation of two time zones will alienate the NER from the rest of the country, and the region's residents may become more inclined to call for secession as a result.
    • Adding a second lab to CSIR-NPL's operations in the new time zone is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking. To be specific, this would be "Primary Time Ensemble-II," which can be traced back to the UTC at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), France.

Is There Any Way to Avoid Using Two Different Time Zones?

  • The National Institute of Advanced Science (NIAS) recommended a permanent 30 minute time shift for IST rather than implementing two separate time zones. e by 90°East at 6:00 UTC
    • The National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) concluded in a study spanning four decades that moving the IST forward by 30 minutes would help India increase productivity, save energy, and integrate the North East.
    • In doing so, a significant energy savings of 2 Estimates from 2009 put the number at 7 billion units, or roughly 3 In the present day, 5 billion items)
    • China, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea are among the other Asian nations that have made the one-time adjustment to their clocks.
  • By means of the Daylight Saving Time mechanism, clocks are set ahead during the spring and later set back during the fall. From April until September, you can use it. Time change would:
    • Reduce energy waste
    • Increase the amount of evening daylight hours.
    • Step up efficiency
    • Contribute to a rise in tourism (as more hours of daylight would encourage visitors to explore the area and spend more money while they're there).

Method Forward

  • The government's ability to collect data and track changes in the economic activity pattern of the nation is crucial to the success of putting the above recommendations into action.
  • There should be careful research into issues like the effect of sunrise and sunset times on people's biological activities, and the possibility of synchronizing sunrise and sunset times with work hours.
  • Spatial compression near the proposed time boundary, etc. must be attended to
  • To make the most of the time that would otherwise be spent in darkness due to a universal IST, it is crucial to solicit input from all relevant parties and settle on a workable solution.
  • Contrasting the Two Concepts of Time:
    • What is meant by the term "time standard"? Either the daily rotation of the earth on its axis, which alters our view of the sun, or man-made methods, such as atomic clocks, are suitable for this purpose.
    • Simply put, a time zone is the universally accepted time-keeping convention for a given region.
      • The time is calculated using the coordinates of the location, though it may be adjusted by up to two hours for practical reasons.
  • Alternate World Clocks:
    • The French overseas territories give the country a total of 12 time zones, making it the country with the most time zones.
      • France shares a longitude with Greenwich, but its leaders have decided to adopt Central European Time (GMT +1 hour) to be more in sync with the rest of Europe and facilitate trade and communication.
    • Similar to the United States, Russia has 11 time zones.
      • There are nine recognized time zones in the United States and an additional two that are used for the country's unpopulated regions.
    • The five time zones that existed in China prior to the Communist takeover were abolished in favor of Beijing Standard Time (GMT 8:00) by former Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
    • The International Space Station uses Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) when communicating with Earth.
  • Time zones: UTC, GMT, and BST
    • Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC, is a modern time standard defined by a network of atomic clocks. It serves as a point of reference in numerous fields, including transportation, finance, and science.
    • The Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England, established the time standard known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in the 19th century.
    • During British Summer Time (BST), clocks are set ahead by one hour at the end of March and then reset to GMT at the end of October to account for daylight saving time.
  • The North and South Poles are two geographically distinct areas where the application of time zones presents some unique challenges.
    • Since all lines of longitude meet at the North and South Poles, it follows that all time zones do as well.
      • In principle, if one knows the exact location of the poles, they can choose any time they like.
    • Since there is no human population at the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean, no standard time zone is necessary.
    • Due to the lack of permanent residents, Antarctica does not have a designated time zone.
      • There, scientific research stations choose the time zone that works best for them.


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