Date and time notation in India

ISO 8601 has been adopted as BIS IS 7900:2001 (Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times - first revision).[1]

The BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) of the Government of India thus officially recommends use of the date format YYYYMMDD.


In India, the DD-MM-YY is the predominant short form of the numeric date usage. Almost all government documents need to be filled up in the DD-MM-YYYY format. An example of DD-MM-YYYY usage is the passport application form.[2]

But two expanded forms are used in India. The DD MMMM YYYY usage is more prevalent over the MMMM DD, YYYY usage except the latter is more used by media publications, such as the print version of the Times of India[3] and The Hindu.[4]

In India, dates in astrology or religious purposes are written in a year-month-day format. This order is also found while reading dates in South Indian languages. (For example, 15 August 1947 would be read in Tamil as 1947 ஆம் ஆண்டு ஆகஸ்ட்(August) 15 ஆம் நாள்.) Whereas, north Indian languages, notably Hindi and Bengali, follow a "day month year" format for reading the dates (15 August 1947 will be read as 15 अगस्त (August) सन 1947 in Hindi and ১৫ অগস্ট (August) ১৯৪৭ সাল in Bengali). However, in written form, it is traditionally in "day month year" order, using a slash or hyphen as the separator. This order is used in both the traditional all-numeric date (e.g., "31/12/99" or "31-12-99") as well as in the expanded form (e.g., "31 December 1999"). Sometimes, the ordinal number for the day before the month is written down (e.g., 31 December 1999). When saying the date, it is usually pronounced by the ordinal number of the day first then the word "of" then the month (e.g. 31 December 1999). The use of its big-endian date notation is not very prevalent.

Mondays are the start of the week (in Indian Railway time tables day 1 is Monday and day 7 is Sunday, e.g. train 12345 runs on days 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, in other words Monday through Friday).


The 12-hour notation is widely used in daily life, written communication, and is used in spoken language. The 24-hour notation is used in rare situations where there would be widespread ambiguity. Examples include railway timetables, plane departure and landing timings. A colon is widely used to separate hours, minutes and seconds (e.g., 10:00:15).


  1. "Standards Published". Bureau of Indian Standards. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  2. "Passport Application Form" (PDF). Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  4. "The Hindu". The Hindu. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
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