Oinam Nabakishore Singh
Indian Standard Time is calculated on the basis of 82.50 E longitude, in Mirzapur (Amravati Chauraha), Uttar Pradesh. Longitude of Imphal is near about 940. Time difference between Mirzapur and Imphal @4″ per degree longitude is 46 minutes. Accordingly, the sun rises and sets earlier in Manipur throughout the year as compared to the states on the western side of the country. For example, as on 4th January, 2019, the sun rises and sets at 5.58 AM and 4.37 PM in Manipur while the corresponding time of sunrise and sunset in Delhi are 7.14 AM and 5.37 PM.
The filmmaker of Assam, JahnuBarua, has been campaigning for a separate time zone for the past 25 years. In 2010, he suggested creating a separate time zone for the Development of Northeastern Region.In 2014, Chief Minister of Assam, TarunGogoi, started campaigning for another time zone for Assam and other northeastern states of India. However, the proposal would need to be cleared by the Government of India.
In June 2017, Department of Science and Technology (DST) in Government of India indicated that they were once again studying feasibility of two time-zones for India. Proposals for creating an additional Eastern India Time (EIT at UTC+06:00, shifting default IST to UTC+05:00 and Daylight saving (Indian Daylight Time for IST and Eastern India Daylight Time for EIT) starting on 14th April (Ambedkar Jayanti) and ending on 2nd October (Gandhi Jayanti) was submitted to DST for consideration.
The question to be asked is whether the present Indian Standard Time, which is same across the whole country is beneficial or not for Manipur in respect of its socio-economic life. Is there a need to have more than one time zone in India considering the vastness of the country? What are the pros and cons of having more than one time zone in India?
The United States of America has four time zones in contiguous areas-Eastern Time, Central Time, Mountain Time and Pacific Time with difference of one hour between each of them. There are two more time zones in USA for Alaska and Hawaii. Difference in time between the westernmost longitude and easternmost longitude in India is about one hour and fifty-six minutes.
If time is important in altering the attitude of people and creating a sense of urgency, having a time zone which allows optimal time between wake up and start of daily work in office or factories will have great impact on productivity of individuals and overall production in the society. For instance, in Manipur, the gap between wakeup time which is close to sunrise and commencement of work in office and factories is very large-wakeup at 5-6 AM in winter and office commencement at 9.00 AM. Performance is much better when both body and mind are fresh right after the wakeup. Instead of starting work at 9.00 AM., it would be better if we start working from 7-8 AM. In case, somebody has to work for longer period, one can continue to do so beyond office hours and before the sunset, which is considered as the outer limit for work as per convention and culture. Most of the countries in East Asia, commence their work at 8.00 AM and conclude at 4 PM. While I studied at Asian Institute of Management, the Philippines for 11 months, classes began at 8.00 AM and sometimes continued upto 5.00 PM. Business and government offices too start working there at 8.00 AM. In Manipur, we should follow similar practice in the interest of productivity and production.
Another possibility of saving daylight time is advancing or setting time back on the clock. According to the Indian Standard Time, the sunset in Manipur is about 4.30 PM in winter and office goers, especially lady staff prefer to leave for home before sunset because of social compulsions. Effective hours of work in office is much lesser than the prescribed one. In many countries, daylight time saving is used by advancing the clock for autumn and winter in order to save daylight and start working early in the day. If we advance by one hour, the sunrise will be at 7 AM instead of 6 AM and sunset in Manipur will be at 5.30 PM instead of 4.30 PM. It implies that people will be working during the period of daylight till the last working hour resulting in more production of goods and services. When the spring and summer return, the clock will be set back by one hour to bring Indian Standard Time back. This practice should be introducedin Manipur.
Both having a separate time zone for north-east and eastern India and daylight time saving need convincing of the Government of India. Having separate time zones and daylight time saving can help in improving our economy and social life. It will also help in reducing crime as trial courts will perform better and criminals will be deterred.
We are witnessing rapid changes in Manipur and the rest of the world. There is need for competitiveness on every front. Old legacy of going to office late and coming back early is against the tenets of professionalism. Be it government office or private establishment, there is urgent need for a complete shift towards better productivity. Good health, freshness in mind and body, strong enthusiasm driven by high level of motivation will help in improving productivity. Our forefathers went to fields for cultivation much before the sunrise and work till 9-10 AM. We too should commence all works-be studies in educational institutions or private establishments or government offices by 8 AM and complete by 4 PM. A shift in our culture of eating breakfast and lunch is also required to suit the need of the work. Canteens and coffee shops near the workplace will help in improving productivity as the employees can reach workplace in time without waiting to eat and come to office as the facilities of eating will be available near the workplace. Energizing workers at intervals will make them more energetic and productive. It is necessary to look for new work and social habits if we are to become more competitive in the ever-competitive world.
Views expressed here are personal.
Oinam Nabakishore Singh