National Timekeeper Demands The Necessity Of Two Time Zones In India! Is That Possible? All You Need To Know

Two time zones in India – Yes, you read it right! It’s not the first time that the demand of two time zones in India has been raised. The CSIR-NPL

(Council of Scientific & Industrial Research National Physical Laboratory), which maintains Indian Standard Time (IST), has published a research article, describing the importance of two time zones in the country. 

As suggested by India’s national timekeepeer, there can be two time zones in the country, IST-I for most of the country, while IST- II, with a difference of an hour, for the Northeastern states. As per the article, IST-I would cover the regions between longitudes 68°7′E and 89°52′E, on the other hand, IST-II would cover the regions between 89°52′E and 97°25′E.

India used to have two time zones during the British Raj!

Many people don’t know or remember that earlier, India used to have two time zones – the Bombay Time and Calcutta Time, introduced in 1884 by the Britishers. Indian Standard Time is a chronology inherited from the British. Our country has had a single IST running through the center of the country since 1906. Before that, we used to have two time zones.

What Is The Reason Behind This Demand?

The Northeastern regions of India have been demanding two time zones, complaining about how the single time zone affects them. The federal planning commission, in 2006, suggested the then UPA government to introduce two time zones in the country. Even the NPL (National Physical Laboratory) has backed the demand of a separate time zone for the Northeastern states.

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What would be the possible advantages of having two time zones?

The biological clock controlling human productivity and efficiency is linked with the daily cycles of light and dark. Many people in the country, are living in the time zone that don’t correspond to their preferred diurnal cycle. So, if two time zones are introduced, people would be able to work and plan better as per their natural cycles, resulting in an economic benefit. 

Due to the sun rising as early as 4 AM during summers, the offices open at 10 AM, due to which the Northeast states lose valuable daylight that could be productively used. The article published by  CSIR-NPL, India’s national timekeeper, says that the country would save 20 million kWh of energy per year if two time zones are followed.

Geographically, we are the second-largest country to not have numerous time zones. From 97 degrees 25 minutes East in Arunachal to 68 degrees 7 minutes East, India expands its boundaries. Nearly 30 degrees of longitude in the direction of Gujarat is enough to support the two time zones. 

From the perspective of the body’s circadian rhythm, the current IST is highly suitable for Kanyakumari, Kavaratti, and Ghuar Mota; tolerable for Alipurduar, Kolkata, Gangtok, Mirzapur, and Gilgitum, but unfavourable for the people living in Port Blair and Dong.

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The arguments against having two time zones in India:

While the CSIR-NPL supports the implementation of two time zones in the country, there is another side of the coin which puts light on its complications like mismatch in the office timings, frequent railway accidents as the functioning of not just the Indian railway, but the railway of each and every country, is based on timings. 

Not just the making of the dividing line of two different time zones would be a complicated, confusing and difficult task, the two time zones may even have adverse political effects as we are already blamed of being divided on the basis of caste, religion, culture, the new division on the basis of time zones would add more into it. 

The Central government’s stand on two time zones:

Despite this newly sparked argument, the Central government has clarified that it has made no decision on the implementation of two time zones in the country. In response to BJP MP Varun Gandhi’s question in the Lok Sabha, union health and family welfare minister Dr. Harshvardhan said, “The government, in 2022, had set up a high-level committee that had not recommended the implementation of two-time zones in India due to the complexities involved in the process.”

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