How two time zones can help the economy

The United States stretches 4,800 km from east to west and is divided into six time zones. In contrast, India stretches over 3,000 km from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh, but has only one time zone.

While the United States is debating whether to move from six time zones to two, India, on the other hand, has been talking about moving from one time zone to two for a long time. China also has a time zone.

India is geographically the second largest country without many time zones.

Before independence, India used time for Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

The adoption of two time zones for India is something the government should seriously consider.

The northeastern states are talking about two time zones, and if the bill is passed in parliament, it will undoubtedly boost India’s economy in the long run.

India is using a time zone because it serves its strategic and political goals, but it is time to change, given its economic needs.

Single time: pros and cons

Proponents of a time zone argue that India is not as big as China, which maintains a time zone (the country actually extends into five time zones).

In addition, the introduction of two time zones in India will cause chaos not only in long-distance railway schedules, but also in the way businesses are run. A shared experience, no matter where you are in India, unites the country.

This is a powerful concept, but it is also slightly wrong because it does not use light.

Two time zones: pros and cons

India has long been discussing the feasibility of two time zones. In fact, Assam tea gardens have long since set their clocks an hour ahead of IST, creating their own informal time zone. There are also economic benefits to having two time zones; people will be able to work and plan more efficiently.

According to a study by the National Institute for Advanced Research, two time zones will help India save 2.7 billion units of electricity a year. This is because most offices and schools in the eastern part of the country remain open well after sunset.

Saving electricity is crucial for India’s economy, which is suffering from crippling electricity shortages. The International Energy Agency estimates that nearly 24 million Indians do not have access to electricity. According to the CSIR-NPL, India could save 1,000 crore rupees a year if it could save electricity by introducing two time zones.

The impact of time zones on international business is a little known but significant problem. Historically, economic models and partners have influenced nations’ time zones. According to a study, countries with more than one time zone, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, have benefited economically from trading in different time zones. They managed to concentrate on their strengths and weaknesses, which led to the best results. Therefore, their work and sleep schedules work in separate time zones. Changing the time zone allowed employees to develop healthier eating, sleep and work habits, which has positive results.

Because political power controls time zones, most of the advantages or disadvantages perceived by residents over their countries’ time zones are political or social rather than economic in nature. By taking advantage of these opportunities and converting time zone differences, India can see some economic benefits.

The government rejected such an idea in 2002, noting its complexity. Due to the need to reset the clock every time the time zone border is crossed, some experts believe that there is a possibility of train accidents.

Last year, however, India’s official timekeepers proposed two time zones, one for most of the country and another for eight countries, including seven in the Northeast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There will be an hour difference between the two time zones.

In February, the issue was re-announced in parliament with MP Deepinder Huda, who called for a bill to reorganize the time zone. But the government said: “A separate time zone would make northeastern residents separate from the rest of the country and provoke secessionist demands.”

India’s decision to adopt a single time zone after independence was a conscious one. A significant part of our population was illiterate at the time, and two time zones would lead to many complications. But with the impressive progress made in improving the level of literacy, this is no longer the case.

India can benefit economically if it switches to hourly changes in the time zone.

Mehta is a consultant and columnist working on market entry, innovation and public policy; Manhas is the director of research, an Indo-Pacific consortium at Raisina House, New Delhi. The opinions expressed are personal

Posted on

June 17, 2022

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