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Demand for ‘Separate time zone’

Published: 4th Apr, 2022


The demand for a separate time zone for India’s northeastern states is once again back in the discussion.


Time Zone in India

  • India has only one time zone.
  • The country has officially observed India Standard Time(IST) since 1947. However, the UTC+5:30 offset has been used as the local standard time in India since 1906.
  • Indian Standard Time is calculated on the basis of 82°30' E longitude from the clock tower in Neni near Prayagraj Uttar Pradesh, which is situated approximately on the corresponding longitude reference line.
  • India is a large country that stretches almost 3000 kilometers (1864 miles) from west to east.
  • It spans nearly 30 degrees longitude(68°7'E to 97°25'E).
  • If the country were to base its time zones on mean solar time, it would have three time zones, but since it only has one, the Sun rises almost 90 minutes earlier in Guar Mota(Gujarat) in the east than in Dong (Arunachal Pradesh) in the far west.

Time Zone

  • Time Zones are a geographical world globe division of 15each, starting at Greenwich, in England, created to help people know what time is it now in another part of the world.
  • The local time within a time zone is defined by its offset (difference) from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the world's time standard.
  • UTC time changes 1 hour forward and backward corresponding to a 1-hour difference in mean solar time for every 15 degrees east or west of the prime meridian (0° longitude) in Greenwich, London, United Kingdom.
  • The offset is expressed as either UTC- or UTC+ and the number of hours and minutes.

The proposed separate time zone:

  • It proposed for two time zones for India:
  • IST-I (UTC + 5.30 h)
  • IST-II (UTC + 6.30 h)
  • The proposed line of demarcation is at 89°52’E, the narrow border between Assam and West Bengal also called as “chicken neck”.
  • The States lying west of the demarcation line would continue to follow IST (to be called IST-I) while states lying East of the line — Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Andaman & Nicobar Islands — would follow IST-II.

Why does this northeast need a separate time zone?

  • The distance between India’s east to west is 2,933 kilometres, which is equivalent to a two-hour time difference.
  • In the Northeast, around the summer solstice, sunrise occurs at 4:15 am, and in winter anywhere between 4 pm to 5 pm.
    • Dong in the Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam is where the sun rises first in India.
  • That is nearly two hours before dawn at Guhar Moti in Gujarat, the westernmost part of the country.
  • Every evening the sun sets more than 90 minutes later in the western part of India.
  • The reason for the demand is the loss of daylight hours and excess use of electricity. Advancing the time by 30 minutes alone could save 2.7 billion units of electricity every year.

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