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25 March 2017 Question Bank


25th MARCH 2017 


(1 Question)


Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.

Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.


1.     The insistence on observing IST vis-à-vis Northeast India's needs ignores its social and economic impact. Elucidate.


  • In a two paragraph order delivered by Chief Justice Ajit Singh, the Gauhati High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation filed by Rita Mozumder seeking a direction from the Central government to notify a separate time zone for the Northeast.
  • The court cites a high-level committee study, constituted by the Ministry of Science and Technology, that recognised the difficulties faced by a single time zone in eastern India but concluded that Indian Standard Time (IST) should nonetheless be retained.
  • It entails a denial of local time - or a separation of time from space - a very significant fact if you consider what it means to the experience of social and economic lives.
  • None of the other proposals such as the introduction of daylight saving time in India has met with any approval.

Difficulties due to no separate time zone for north east:

1.      In the case of India, the time difference between the westernmost part of India and the easternmost point is approximately two hours, the effect of which is that the sun rises and sets much earlier than it does in the rest of the country. In the Northeast, the sun rises as early as four in the morning and in winter it sets by four in the evening.

2.      By the time government offices or educational institutions open, many daylight hours are already lost.

3.      In winter this problem gets even more accentuated and the ecological costs are a disaster with much more electricity having to be consumed.

4.      There is of course a strong political dimension to granting a separate time zone in the Northeast given the region's long history of self-determination movements. The unstated assumption is that the grant of a different time zone is only the first temporal step towards conceding spatial autonomy. This appears to me to be a short-sighted perspective.

5.       If socioeconomic development is indeed one of the formulae to combat insurgency, might it not be worthwhile to consider the disastrous impact that IST has on productivity and efficiency in the region?

A step taken:

  • A few years ago, then Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, frustrated with the decision of the Centre not to have a separate Northeast time, unilaterally decided that Assam would followChai Bagaantime.
  • Bagaantime or tea time is a reference to an informal practice followed in tea gardens in Assam which is an hour ahead of IST.
  • It alerts us to the fact that there is indeed a long history of the application of different time zones in India.
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