Lifestyle & More

What’s the reason for India’s Time Zone being 30 minutes off?

Did you know? The greater time zone in India is 30 minutes off from the rest of the world. Therefore, if you travel in India, it is very probable that you get confused by the time displayed on your devices, as the country is not using a normal 1-hour increment system. Why is that you may ask? We made this guide so you will know everything there is to know about India’s time zone.

The Creation of the Time zones

It is no secret that our beautiful planet is rotating around the sun, but people a few hundred years ago didn’t know that. As a matter of fact, many thought that the Earth was flat. To this day, there are still some people who believe that the planet isn’t round, we call them the flat-Earthers.

The irrefutable fact about this debate, however, lies in the time zones. You see, for the time zone system to work, the planet has to be somewhat spherical, as it divides the latter into 24 equal sections. It is Sir Sandford Fleming, who in 1878 discovered and designed a way for every country in the world to be somewhat synchronized between each other.

Although the time zones and the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) were well-established near the end of the 1800s, it was almost exclusively used by astronomers and scientists. It is only a few decades later that the common society adopted and started using these time indicators.

The Time Revolution

Fast-forward to the 70s, a new system was put in place that would revolutionize time as we know it: the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). That’s right, in 1972, UTC entirely (or almost entirely) replaced GMT. Instead of using the rotation of the Earth and the position of the sun to keep time, UTC was using new highly precise atomic clocks. These clocks had single handily removed all the variables involved with the Earth’s rotation.

Besides, atomic clocks always give the perfect time no matter where you are located in the world. And even better, it gets rid of the Daylight Saving Time as it doesn’t need it anymore. All in all, UTC is the system that is currently used almost everywhere on the planet. There are still some entities such as the Royal Navy, the US military, and BBC World Service that use GMT, but this could change eventually.

Is India using GMT or UTC?

Actually, this is a weird one, since India doesn’t use either of those, but instead, it uses the Indian Standard Time (IST). If you translate this time zone to UTC, it will give you a UTC offset of UTC +05:30, the same goes for GMT.

Why the 30-minute offset in India?

To better understand why India uses the IST 30-minute offset time zone, we need to go back to the past. Because of the political tensions that happened many years ago between Pakistan and New Delhi, the capital of India, it was determined by the Union government of India that it was just better to have a different time zone.

Since New Delhi is placed almost exactly in the middle between Pakistan (UTC +5:00) and Bangladesh (UTC +6:00), India decided to place an offset of half an hour on its exclusive time zone, IST. In 1947, the official Indian Standard Time was born, excluding however both Kolkata and Mumbai, since they each had their own local time called Calcutta Time and Bombay Time respectively. Nevertheless, it is important to note that Kolkata and Mumbai use IST as well in 2021.

How many time zones are used in India?

There is only one time zone currently being used in India, the Indian Standard Time. That said, there were in fact other time zones that were using their own local time systems in the past, such as Bombay Time and Calcutta time. Those, however, have been replaced by the IST timezone in 1955.

Does Myanmar use IST as well?

Yes and no, it does have the exact same UTC offset of UTC+5:30, but for political reasons and whatnot, Myanmar uses its own time zone called MTT (Myanmar Time). Moreover, there are a couple of other countries that use a particular offset. For example, Nepal observes time with a time zone called NPT, which is the equivalent of UTC+05:45. It was already enough complicated with half an hour, imagine with a 45-minute offset!

Does India use Daylight Saving Time?

You might be surprised to know that there is no Daylight Saving Time in India, which causes many problems to Indian people across the country. For Northern Indians, it seems that the sun sets too rapidly during winter, which in turn makes the nights much longer. This effect, unfortunately, increases the electricity bill price since the lights need to be turned on for a longer time.

On the other end of the spectrum, you also have some areas where the sun rises too late or too early, but for students, schools always start a the same time no matter what. This creates an unproductive environment for many students, which in turn can lead to bigger issues in the long run. There have been many debates around whether India should introduce the Daylight Saving Time system, but it has not been accepted yet.

What software to use to keep the time between time zones?

If you are wondering which timekeeping desktop software or mobile app is the best, here are a few suggestions:

  • FoxClocks: This is a Google Chrome extension that you can access at all times in your browser. It also works on Firefox and Thunderbird.
  • iOS Word Clock will tell you everything you need to know about time zones on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Microsoft Alarms & Clock app which normally comes with Windows 10 and is pretty useful and user-friendly.

That concludes our complete guide on India’s Time Zone, IST, and its history. With this information, you will be able to know exactly what time it is if you visit India one day.