Amid demands for separate time zones in the country, especially by the northeastern states, the government on Wednesday said it has not made any decision on the matter. In a written response to a question by BJP lawmaker Varun Gandhi in the Lok Sabha on whether the government has come to a decision on the feasibility of having two time zones in the country, Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan replied in negative. He said the government had set up a high-level committee in 2002 that had not recommended implementation of two-time zones in India because of complexities involved in the process.
Several countries across the world have opted for multiple time zones for varied reasons, including increasing economic activity and productivity. The US has seven time zones, Russia has 11, while China, like India, follows a single time zone.
In a vast country like India, the sunrise and sunset timings are different in the east, west and north India. For instance, in the far northeastern states, the sun rises and sets early when compared to northern and western regions of the country.
Votaries of separate time zones argue that having a single time zone hampers productivity in east and northeastern states. “The committee, in order to meet the objective of gainfully utilising the morning hours and to provide better recreational avenues during the evening hours, had recommended advancing work timings suitably in the eastern and northeastern states,” Vardhan said.
An advisory was also issued to eastern and northeastern states to consider advancing work timings accordingly, Vardhan added.