A team of scientists in Bangalore wants the government to consider changing the Indian Standard Time (IST).
They have proposed that the IST be advanced by half an hour — to be six hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or the Universal Coordinated Time — to save 16 per cent peak evening electricity and about Rs 1,000 crore per year.
“We propose that we advance, once and for all, IST from being the time at the 82.5 degree East longitude (Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh) to 90 degree East (Bengal-Assam border), and that we do not cycle the clocks annually,” said lead authors Dilip Ahuja and D.P. Sen Gupta of the National Institute of Advanced Studies at the Indian Institute of Science in Current Science journal last month. A Planning Commission report had proposed two time zones for India to save energy and daylight.
The shift proposed by the Bangalore team would lead to an extra half hour of evening daylight but later winter sunrises.
The latest sunrises in New Delhi and Ahmedabad would shift from 7.15 a.m. and 7.22 a.m. under current mid-January IST to 7.45 and 7.52 a.m., they said. The authors admitted that infotech and business process outsourcing industries would object to tweaking business timings.
“When it would be 8 a.m. in Silicon Valley, it would be 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. in India, instead of 8.30 p.m. or 21.30 p.m. now. There will be more overlap with eastern countries like China and Japan,” the authors said in the paper. But the transition would require only one or two years, they said. The new IST would bring India in conformity with “95 per cent regions of the world”. “We readily acknowledge that some lights may have to be switched on in the mornings especially in northern and western parts of the country for a few weeks in winter,” they said, but pointed out that the shift would mainstream the Northeast (which is bright before 4 am in June), and less sporting events would be stopped because of poor lights.