Daily Current Affairs Update: 30 March, 2023

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Daylight Saving Time

  • Recently, the Lebanon Government has delayed the start of Daylight-Saving Time (DST) by a month. Meanwhile, Greenland has chosen to stay with DST forever.
  • Lebanon usually sets its clocks forward an hour on the last Sunday in March. However, its Prime Minister said this year, the clocks would be reset on 21 April, without citing any reason.

What is Daylight Saving Time?

  • DST is the practise of resetting clocks ahead by an hour in spring, and behind by an hour in autumn (or fall).
  • Because the spring to fall cycle is opposite in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, DST lasts from March to October/November in Europe and the US, and from September/October to April in New Zealand and Australia.
  • India does not follow daylight saving time.
  • The countries near the Equator do not experience high variations in daytime hours between seasons.

How many countries use DST?

  • DST is in practice in some 70 countries, including those in the EU.
  • India does not follow daylight saving time  as countries near the Equator do not experience high variations in daytime hours between seasons.
  • (There is, however, a separate debate around the logic of sticking with only one time zone in a large country.)
  • Most Muslim countries do not use DST — during the holy month of Ramzan which could mean delaying the breaking of the fast for longer.
  • Morocco has DST, but suspends it during Ramzan. However, Iran has DST, and stays with it even during Ramzan.

What does this system mean to achieve?

  • The key argument is that DST is meant to save energy.
  • The rationale behind setting clocks ahead of standard time, usually by 1 hour during springtime, is to ensure that the clocks show a later sunrise and later sunset — in effect a longer evening daytime.
  • Individuals will wake an hour earlier than usual, complete their daily work routines an hour earlier, and have an extra hour of daylight at the end.

What are the Disadvantages of DST?

  • According to a study in Popular Science magazine in the US, one hour of lost sleep in the US increases the fatal crash rate by 5.4% to 7.6% for six days following the transition.
  • Other studies found a higher rate of workplace injuries after the switch, leading to lost days of work; a slight drop in stock market performance; health problems as a result of disruption of the Circadian Rhythm.