One easy way for India to boost productivity is bringing back time zones , says study


  • Using different time zones for northeastern states in India may improve their productivity.
  • Even though the sun rises and sets early in these states, they follow the Indian Standard Time (IST) that results in poor sleep.
  • The states suffer a loss of daylight. Moreover, the problem is during winters when the region has shorter days leading to more electricity consumption.
India can increase the productivity of all the North-eastern states by having two different time zones, according to a recent scientific study.

The study authored by Maulik Jagnani, a researcher at Cornell University -- has suggested that using a different time zones for Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to set their clocks on an hour ahead of the Indian Standard time.

According to Jagnani, a “back-of-the-envelope estimates” suggest that India incurs annual human capital costs of roughly $4.1 billion or 0.2 percent of nominal GDP [gross domestic product] due to the existing policy regulating time zone boundaries.

Currently, India follows a single time zone — The Indian Standard Time (IST) that is 5.30 hours ahead of the Coordinated Universal Time (UCT, 0.00).

While India follows a single time zone across the country, the sun rises and sets early than rest of the country. This causes loss of several daylight hours. The problem is intensity in winters when the region has shorter days leading to more electricity consumption.

Since the sun rises and sets at different hours in the country, students are likely to get poor sleep, affecting their primary school and middle school. Poor people are affected the most because of this primarily because they live in inadequate physical conditions and have very less to spend on commodities including beds and pillows that helps us to sleep better told Jagnani to BBC.

How do time zone work?

There are around 24 time zones across the globe separated by 15 degrees longitude to enable smooth functioning of railways and flight services.

There are countries that have multiple time zones like the US, Australia, France and Russia. While some other countries like the US, Africa and North and South America uses Daylight Saving — setting clock forward by an hour in summer and back by an hour in winter to make better use of daylight.

India is among those countries which neither uses multiple time zones nor uses daylight saving rather it has set out a single time zone across the country.

India earlier had two different time zones that made it easier for the traders to efficiently use daylight. However, after independence, the Indian government decided to set one time zone — 5.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, located near London.

See also:
Working night shifts can do irreversible damage to your DNA, says study
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