The government will soon launch a Rs 100 crore project to ensure accurate dissemination and synchronisation of Indian Standard Time (IST), a move aimed at putting in place accurate timing system nationwide. Accurate time dissemination and precise time synchronisation would have “significant impact” on diverse areas including banking, telecom, weather forecast, disaster management and automatic signalling in railways, a senior consumer affairs ministry official said. As part of the ambitious project, the ministry would strengthen the infrastructural facilities of 5 existing regional reference standards laboratories. Besides, two more such labs would be soon set up. “We are launching a Rs 100 crore project for time dissemination initiative. In budget for 2018-19, Rs 20 crore has already been provided,” Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash Kumar Srivastava told reporters here. To have accurate time dissemination, the facilities at the five labs located in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Faridabad and Guwahati would be strengthened with the help of National Physical Laboratory (NPL). “Synchronisation of all networks and computers within the country with a national clock is a must, especially for the real time application in strategic sector and national security,” a senior ministry official explained.
For instance, non-uniformity of time across different systems could create problems in investigation of cyber crime, the official added. The ministry is implementing the Legal Metrology Act, which covers the provisions for units of weights and measures. According to the ministry, accurate time dissemination and precise time synchronisation has significant impact on industrial, strategic, societal and other spheres. Such a framework would be key to monitoring of power grids, international trade, banking system, weather forecast and disaster management, among others.
The synchronisation of time could even reduce mobile phone bills, the secretary said, without elaborating. A group of secretaries on Science and Technology had flagged that all telecom and internet service providers were not mandatorily adopting the Indian Standard Time. A Standard Time and Frequency Signal (STFS) Dissemination Service using INSAT system is provided by National Physical Laboratory (NPL). The particular time has a precision of better than one microsecond and accuracy of better than 20 microseconds, as per ISRO website.