Which Asian country is 30 minutes out of sync with Greenwich Mean Time?

And the answer: India.  
Photo credit: public domain.

When India became an independent country in 1947, a single time zone with a half-hour time difference was established called India Standard Time, at +5:30 Greenwich Mean Time. As the time zone is a legacy of Britain’s railway construction, India's official timekeepers have made proposals for multiple time zones that would improve productivity and quality of life for its people.

In a perfect world, time zones would be evenly distributed slices of 15 degrees longitude. In reality, though, time zones are often chosen arbitrarily, rather than by an exact science based on the precise movements of the sun. Although each time zone is (roughly) 15 degrees wide, some are stretched in various ways to accommodate political boundaries.

Generally speaking, the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) acts as the basis for world time zone changes. Effectively, UTC serves as a successor to GMT, or Greenwich Mean Time, and is used as the standard across the world (the two systems are exactly the same in time). As you move west from Greenwich, every 15-degree section or time zone is an hour earlier than GMT, while each time zone to the east is an hour later.

Some countries, however, didn’t accept the idea of standard time. China, for example, uses the same time zone across the country to avoid confusion, despite the fact that geographically, China spans three time zones. Other nations, such as India, adopted systems that change time zones by smaller increments, like 15 or 30 minutes. For that reason, there are actually many more time zones than the standard 24 in use today. Locations that have adopted unusual time zones include Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Newfoundland, Regions of Australia, Venezuela, Nepal, Chatham Islands, and the Marquesas Islands.

Learn more about time zones here.

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