New Delhi (Sputnik) — That India should have two distinct time zones was raised by a member of Parliament from a regional party on Thursday, arguing that it could save 2.7 billion units of electricity.
"The sun rises at 4 a.m. in Arunachal Pradesh while offices open at 10 a.m. There is a gap of nearly two hours in sunrise timings between the eastern and the western parts of the country. The Ministry of Science and Technology has also done a study on this in the past," B. Mahtab, a Biju Janata Dal MP, said during Question Hour in Parliament.
Mahtab said some 2.7 billion units of electricity could be saved if there were two separate time zones and added that only the central government could make the call on office timings. Responding to the lawmaker's query, India's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government has taken Mahtab's suggestion very "seriously."
Like China, India follows a single time zone (IST) which is fixed at 82.5°, or approximately five hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Russia, the world's largest country, uses 11 time zones, while Canada has six time zones, four of which align with the US.
Experts said a single time zone is serving the country well, barring the northeastern part of the country.
"India has considered multiple time zones a few times and realized it is not worth economically. A primary reason is that our major commercial cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Chennai are relatively close to the central longitude. China too follows this system where most of its economy is near around the Beijing longitude. Again, our proximity to the equator also renders seasonal variation less [significant for us]. The most important factor is that the economic cost of integrating multiple time zones may take a lot of time and create major confusion initially. Communication companies, broadcasting companies, stock exchanges and travelers will have to adjust to multiple zones," Manoranjan Mishra, assistant professor at Odisha State Open University in Sambalpur, Odisha, told Sputnik.