Tag Archives: Daylight Saving Time

Assam Moves an Hour Ahead of IST


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


Tea plantation in Assam
Tea plantation in Assam

Surprisingly, though India is a very large country spanning more than 15 degrees of longitude, from points further east than Bangladesh to the western Arabian Sea, it has only one time zone of +5:30 from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The Indian Standard Time (IST) corresponds to 82.5°E longitude. Though this line passes through several major Indian cities, the Vindhyachal town, west of the town of Mirzapur near Allahabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh is most cited.

The difference in longitude between Vindhyachal town and the United Kingdom’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich translates to an exact time difference of 5 hours 30 minutes. Though the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi, has the task of officially keeping time, a clock tower at the Allahabad Observatory (25.15°N 82.5°E) is used to calculate Indian local time.

Since there is only one time zone throughout India, states to the east of this longitude have less daylight hours in comparison to the other states lying west of Vindhyachal town.

Parts of eastern India, particularly the Northeast, bear the twin burden of very early summer sunrises and very early winter sunsets. Parts of the Northeast are brighter by about 4 am in June and dark before 5 pm in December.

Pre-independence India had two time zones – the Calcutta Time and the Bombay Time. In the East, Calcutta Time was 5:30:21 hours ahead of GMT, while Bombay Time in the West was 4:51:00 hours ahead of GMT. Calcutta Time was abandoned in 1948 and Bombay Time in 1955.

Since independence in 1947, the IST has been the official time for the whole country.

In the research paper published in 2012, scientists from the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bangalore recommended advancing IST by half-hour, setting it at +6.00 GMT instead of the current +5.30 GMT by shifting the time zone from 82.5°E longitude to 90°E longitude, closer to the Assam-Bengal border. This move will benefit all states in India, not just the northeast, by saving more than 2.7 billion units of electricity – enough to power 1.35 million more urban middle-class homes.


Dr. Dilip Ahuja, Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore
Dr. Dilip Ahuja, NIAS, Bangalore

Dr. Dilip Ahuja, author of the 2012 research paper, in response to queries by email said that different time zones can be potentially problematic in India.

“Government offices in those states will close at different times and would be accessible only 75% of the time which can cause a potential loss of productivity.”

Dr. Ahuja also said that different time zones could cause chaos for Indian railways, although airlines may still manage.

“India is a country where trains change tracks by manual switching. Different time zones could cause major confusion in communications between train operators and lead to accidents.”

Additional daylight hours in the evenings would be people-friendly, would help save power at home and in offices, reduce petty crimes among other gains, scientists have said.

Kapil Kaul, CEO South Asia CAPA - Centre for Aviation, India
Kapil Kaul, CEO South Asia CAPA – Centre for Aviation, India

Mr. Kapil Kaul, CEO South Asia CAPA – Centre for Aviation, India, said:

“Separate time zone would not have a major impact on airlines, except they will have to adapt to arrival and departure timings. In the US, there is a time difference between West coast and East coast, but it does not create big problems for airlines.”

Earlier, The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, too has found that the 116-minute time difference between the easternmost and westernmost points of India imply that two time zones for the country may be apt. However, The Department of Science and Technology has recommended otherwise.

The Centre discarded the move citing administrative challenges.

Now, the state of Assam has decided to follow the ‘chaibagaan’ time instead of the Indian Standard Time that was in vogue more than 150 years ago.

Tarun Gogoi, the Chief Minister of Assam
Tarun Gogoi, the Chief Minister of Assam

Tarun Gogoi, the Chief Minister of Assam, had said that IST has not only affected productivity, but also has forced the state to follow a schedule not suitable to the time zone Assam is in. Gogoi is quoted as saying:

“The northeastern states have been asking New Delhi for a separate time zone. We have now decided to set our clocks to bagaan time.”

More than 150 years ago, the British introduced the chaibagaan time (or bagaan time), a daylight saving schedule for better energy savings on tea plantations and reflects labour laws, such as the Plantations Labour Act of 1951, which allows governments to set local times for particular areas. Tea gardens in Assam already work to local clocks set an hour in advance of IST.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the change in time zone will help not only cut down on energy consumption, but also will help people to become more energetic.

The clocks in Assam would soon be advanced by an hour ahead of the IST. However, Tarun Gogoi has not stated whether the Centre has accepted the decision.





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Some Facts About Daylight-Saving Time (DST)


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


DST Countries Map
Daylight Saving Time Countries as of October 2011.

Daylight Saving Time often known as “Summer Time”, “DST” or “Daylight Savings Time” helps to make better use of daylight in the evenings during certain periods of the year.

The clock moves ahead losing one hour in the spring when DST starts, and it falls back one hour gaining an hour when DST ends in the Fall. The transition from Standard Time (ST) to Daylight Saving Time (DST) has the effect of moving one hour of daylight from morning to the evening and the transition from DST to ST effectively moves one hour of daylight from the evening to the morning.

This year on Sunday, March 11 at 2 am, the Eastern Time Zone officially switched from standard time to DST, giving us a later sunrise and sunset. After being in effect for 238 days, or about 65% of the year DST ended today at 2 am.

From yesterday, the time difference between New Delhi, India and Washington DC, USA is -19:30 hours instead of -9:30 hours.

Here are some facts about Daylight Saving Time:

In his article “Daylight saving in ancient Rome,” that appeared in The Classical Journal 13 (6): 450–451, B.L. Ullman (1918-03) wrote about the common practice of saving daylight in the ancient world.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

In 1784, Benjamin Franklin the American inventor, statesman, and publisher resurrected this idea. During his time as an American envoy to France, on April 26, 1784 Journal de Paris published in its “Économie” section an anonymous light-hearted satire titled “Aux auteurs du Journal” in French translated from the English original. In this satire, Franklin suggested that Parisians could economize on candles by rising earlier than they used to and use morning sunlight. He also proposed taxing shutters, rationing candles, waking the public by ringing church bells, and firing cannons at sunrise.

Franklin wrote under the pseudonyms of “Poor Richard” and “Richard Saunders”. He achieved success publishing a yearly almanac named “Poor Richard’s Almanack“. Being the best-selling pamphlet published in the American colonies, yearly print runs of the almanac reached 10,000. He published this almanac continually from 1732 to 1758. In this almanac, Franklin’s facetiously suggested that people should get up earlier in the summer to take advantage of more sunlight. The axiom “Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” has been attributed to him.

George Vernon Hudson
George Vernon Hudson

In 1895, George Vernon Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist, mooted the idea of modern daylight saving time (DST).

William Willett by Elliott & Fry
William Willett

On an early summer morning in 1907, William Willett, an Englishman, after riding his horse in Petts Wood, near his home noticed many blinds still down, and the idea for daylight saving time occurred to him.

William Willet published a pamphlet “The Waste of Daylight” using his own financial resources. He proposed that the clocks should be advanced by 80 minutes in four incremental steps during April and reversed the same way during September. The evenings would then remain light for longer increasing daylight recreation time, and this could save ₤2.5 million in lighting costs. He suggested that the clocks should be advanced by 20 minutes at a time, at 2 am on successive Sundays in April, and be retarded by the same amount on Sundays in September.

In 1908, the fate of Willett’s proposal involved several political issues in Britain. His idea captivated many persons in high office, including Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, David Lloyd George, James Ramsay MacDonald, King Edward VII (who used half-hour DST at Sandringham), budding politician Winston Spencer Churchill, the managing director of Harrods, and the manager of the National Bank.

Even so, the opposition to Willett’s proposal was  stronger. It included Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, Sir William Christie (the Astronomer Royal), Sir George Howard Darwin, Sir William Napier Shaw (director of the Meteorological Office), many agricultural organizations, and theater owners.

In 1909, after many hearings by a Parliamentary select committee on Willett’s proposal nothing came out of it.

In the same year, Andrew Peters introduced a DST bill to the US House of Representatives. However, the skeptical US politicians killed it in committee.

Every year from 1911 through 1914, Willett’s allies introduced similar bills to the British Parliament, to no avail.

The outbreak of the First World War made the issue of daylight saving more important because of the need to save coal. By 1916, Germany and its allies enforced daylight saving time calling it Sommerzeit.

Finally, after Britain passed the bill on May 17, 1916 it advanced the clocks by an hour on the following Sunday, 21st May. Subsequently, other European countries adopted daylight saving. Russia waited until 1917.

Sir Winston Churchill in his article “A silent toast to William Willett” in the Pictorial Weekly dated April 28, 1934 argued that daylight saving enlarges “the opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness among the millions of people who live in this country.”

The term “summer time” replaced daylight saving time in draft legislation in Britain. Continental Europe uses similar phrases, like Sommerzeit in Germany, zomertijd in Dutch, horario de verano or hora de verano in Spain and l’heure d’été in France. In Italy, the term became ora legale, that is, legal time (legally enforced time) as opposed to ora solare, solar time, in Winter.

The United States adopted daylight saving time in 1918. Two states, Arizona and Hawaii do not observe daylight saving time. In 2005, President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act, extending daylight saving time by four weeks.

Many countries near or south of the equator do not observe DST. Kazakhstan dropped DST in 2005 citing negative health effects.

A few studies link an increase in heart attacks when DST goes into effect, and a decrease when it ends.

Still people debate whether DST actually saves energy.



Fall Back from DST

As I opened my laptop this morning, I remembered I had to fall back on time today. I clicked the clock icon at the bottom of the screen, and the clock applet showed this message: “Daylight saving time ended Sunday, November 04, 2012 at 2:00 AM. The clock went back 1 hour at that time.”

I googled “daylight saving time” and the first item I saw on the screen was:

Daylight Saving Time (United States) began Sunday, March 11, 2012, 2:00am, and ended Sunday, November 4, 2012, 2:00am. Except Arizona and Hawaii. Move your clocks ahead 1 hour in spring and back 1 hour in fall (“Spring forward, fall back”).

The clock moves ahead losing one hour in the spring when DST starts, and it falls back one hour gaining an hour when DST ends in the Fall. This year on Sunday, March 11 at 2 a.m., the Eastern Time Zone officially switched from standard time to DST, giving us a later sunrise and sunset. After being in effect for 238 days, or about 65% of the year DST ended today at 2 a.m.


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Spring Forward to DST


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

Yesterday at 1:30 pm I received a phone call from my elder daughter Sujatha who lives in Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli, India. I asked her “Is it an emergency call? Isn’t it midnight over there? Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”

She laughed and said, “Appa, it’s only eleven o’clock in the night, not midnight.”

Then it dawned on me. I remembered my daughter-in-law, Ligia, telling my wife that morning something about daylight saving time coming into force in the Eastern Time Zone (EST) where Elkridge, MD is.

In India we don’t have this phenomenon called Daylight Saving Time (DST) since in most part of the country we have almost equal amount of daytime and night-time the whole year round.

Daylight-saving time, or DST, is the period of the year when clocks are moved one hour ahead. This has the effect of creating more sunlit hours in the evening during months when the weather is the warmest. The clocks are advanced ahead by one hour at the beginning of DST, and are moved  back one hour (“spring forward, fall back”) to return to standard time (ST).

The  transition from ST to DST has the effect of moving one hour of daylight from the morning to the evening; and the transition from DST to ST effectively moves one hour of daylight from the evening to the morning.

Yesterday, Sunday, March 11 at 2 a.m., the Eastern Time Zone officially switched from standard time to DST, giving us a later sunrise and sunset. DST will now be in effect for 238 days, or about 65% of the year. DST will end at 2 a.m. on November 4, 2012.

So, from yesterday, the time difference between New Delhi, India and Washington DC, USA is -9:30 hours instead of -10:30 hours.

New Delhi is 9:30 hours ahead of Washington DC. That means when it is 8:00 a.m. in Elkridge, Maryland, USA, it is 5:30 pm in Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli, India.

Why does anyone bother with daylight saving time in the first place?

Benjamin Franklin, the 18th century icon, is widely credited with coming up with the concept of daylight saving time in one of his satiric essays. He suggested a later sunset to decrease the use of fuel for artificial lights.

In an effort to conserve fuel, war-torn Germany, during World War I, was the first country in the world to introduce Daylight Saving Time (DST). Germany began observing DST on May 1, 1916. As the war progressed, most countries in Europe followed suite.

United States introduced the Standard Time Act on March 19, 1918 that established standard time zones and set summer Daylight Saving Time  to begin on March 31, 1918. Though the idea of DST was beneficial to the country, it was unpopular on many fronts and US Congress abolished DST after the war. DST then became a local option and observed in some states.

When World War II began,on February 9, 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt implemented year-round DST, called “War Time”. It lasted till the last Sunday in September 1945. From the following year, many states and localities in US adopted summer DST.Today, most of the United States and its territories observe DST. However, DST is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the state of Arizona.

“There’s a Navajo saying about it,” said Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s State Historian, “That only the U.S. government could believe that when you chop the top off a blanket and sew it on the bottom, you have a longer blanket.”

Some tribes, including the Hopi and, locally, the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe, don’t spring forward in Arizona, but others like the Navajo Indian Reservation, does observe DST. This creates time zone pockets within time zone pockets, causing headaches for travelers in northeastern Arizona.

“Depending on where you’re coming from, you could change your watch, drive a few miles, change it again, drive a few miles and change it again,” said Trimble.