The smallest unit of Time in ancient India was Prana (time-span of one breath) which approximated to 4 seconds. Modern medical research confirms normal breathing frequency as 15 breaths/minute. How amazing! It was the coming of Railways that first made British think about unified time for all regions of India . The current Indian Standard Time, 5.30 hrs ahead of GMT, was fixed as the single time zone for the whole of India by the British in January,1906 with the meridian passing east of Allahabad at 82.5 E longitude as the central meridian . In recent times, it's been a pressing demand that the East and North East of India must have a separate time zone as the sun rises earlier than in the other areas of India. For a country of India's width, from Tripura to Gujarat, which distance is almost 2000kms, it is only fair that two time zones be put into operation so that daylight can be better used in the East. The sun rises and sets in the country's Eastern border two hours before it does in the Rann of Kutch in the deep West. Even Bangla Desh has set its time half an hour ahead of IST.
The official thinking, controlled by a bureaucracy and a political leadership that is North centric has still not responded favourably to this demand of the East. It has traditionally been a neglected area of India but is increasing in importance as it becomes India's gateway to the Pacific.
The Assamese film maker and Scientist Jahanu Barua, after 20 years of research in to time-zones in India, finds a strong case for a separate time zone for North-East India. As reported in the New Indian Express of Jan 24th, 2009 Jahanu Barua points out that the time difference between the eastern and western extremes of the country is more than 2 hrs. The Sun rises in the North-East at a longitude of 105 degrees east and hence north-east time is 7 hrs ahead of GMT. In the present situation the Eastern parts of India lose two to three hrs of daylight while the West gains time. This loss can easily be remedied by the country adopting two time zones, says Barua.