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Policy to make adoption of Indian Standard Time mandatory on anvil

The government is planning to come out with a comprehensive policy for mandatory adoption of Indian Standard Time (IST) nationwide, a senior consumer affairs ministry official said. The purpose is to ensure synchronization of all networks and computers to IST and adoption of IST by Telecom Service Providers, Internet Service Providers, power grids, banks, stock exchange, etc, the official said.

Presently, IST is not being adopted mandatorily by all telecom and internet service providers. They are utilising the servers synchronised to other sources such as Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) is already working on a project in coordination with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to generate and disseminate accurate time traceable to IST.

Speaking to PTI, the official said the ministry is also planning to develop a comprehensive policy and regulatory framework for “mandatory adoption of IST” under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009.

Consultants will be hired for carrying out a detailed assessment of the requirements of time synchronisation, study best international practices in this domain and lay down plans and procedures for effective implementation of the project.

“It is imperative that all networks and computers within the country, especially those that cater to the real time applications to the strategic sectors for national security, be synchronized to the national time standard,” the official said.

The project which is being implemented along with NPL and ISRO aims to create technology and infrastructure to disseminate IST from five sites across India to all the telecom operators, power grids, financial institutions, data centres, common citizens etc.
These locations are the Regional Reference Standard Laboratories (RRSLs) of DoCA at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Faridabad and Guwahati.

“Upon completion, the project is expected to enhance national security and reduce the error in time synchronisation,” the official added.

Precise time is essential for country’s strategic and non-strategic sectors for navigation, tele-communication, internet, power grid synchronization, banking systems, digital governance, transport systems, financial transactions, defence systems, cyber physical systems, and upcoming technologies of 5G, artificial intelligence and internet of things.

Precise time with nanosecond accuracy is also required for high-end research in science, namely, measurement of fundamental physical constants, detection of the gravitational waves, geodesy, deep space navigation, radio telescopes, etc. PTI

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