Date and time notation in India

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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 YYYY-MM-DD.


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 on.[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] Many government websites, including Prime Minister's official website, retain the historical format use by Britain (MMMM DD, YYYY) during the colonial era until sometimes 20th century.

In India, dates in astrology or religious purposes are written in a year-month-day format.[citation needed] 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 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 सन 1947 in Hindi and ১৫ অগস্ট ১৯৪৭ সাল in Bengali).[citation needed] However, in written form, it is traditionally in "day month year" order, using a stroke 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.[citation needed]

The month-day-year (12/31/1999) in short format, is never used in India, but regionally used in Bodo.

Considerable confusion is created, when the date format is set to American (United States) by default in some software applications. This format is often used on Indian websites of American companies. Little care is taken by many software developers to ensure that the date format is set to Indian when their software is meant to be used in India.

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 used to separate hours, minutes and seconds (for example 10:00:15). However, full stop is almost exclusively used instead of colons in Bangla.


  1. ^ "Standards Published". Bureau of Indian Standards. Archived from the original on 2007-09-01. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  2. ^ "Passport Application Form" (PDF). Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The Hindu". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2007-12-10. Retrieved 2008-09-20.