Fact-Check: As claimed by Navbharat Times journalist, was Railway serving food marked for 20th January on 19th?

On 20th January 2019, BJP spokesperson Tajinder Bagga tweeted about the Railway Ministry taking measures to ensure transparency

On 20th January 2019, BJP spokesperson Tajinder Bagga tweeted about the Railway Ministry taking measures to ensure transparency. He tweeted that earlier, in train journeys, passengers used to complain that the food was being sold at a higher rate and that they were often unaware of the actual price. To solve this issue, the railway ministry has started stamping the food with the price of the item. He lauded the railway ministry for the step taken.

However, when Bagga tweeted, a journalist with Navbharat Times, Damodar Vyas tweeted to him wondering how the Railway Ministry was serving food marked for 20th January on 19th January itself.

Somehow, Vyas’ Twitter feed showed him that Tajinder Bagga had tweeted on 19th January instead of 20th January. But as evidenced from the embedded tweet of Tajinder Bagga, his tweet came on 20th January itself.

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Wondering how Vyas misinterpreted the tweet, OpIndia decided to investigate further.

When one goes to the Settings page of one’s Twitter account, one sees several timezone options from which one can choose according to where that person is based. For someone based in India, the ideal timezone setting would be that of GMT (Greenwich meantime) + 5:30. This is the Indian Standard Timing setting. When Tajinder’s tweet is viewed with this timezone setting (that of India) the date displayed on the tweet is 20th January.

Time Zone setting of a Twitter account

Now, if the timezone setting is changed to International Time Zone, which would be GMT – 11:00 (International Date Line West), for example, the same tweet, which was tweeted on 20th January according to IST (Indian Standard Timing) shows that the Bagga tweeted on 19th January.

International Date Line (West) Timezone setting on Twitter

Tajinder Bagga’s tweet after timezone was selected as International Date Line (West)

The International Date Line (IDL) is an imaginary line on Earth’s surface defining the boundary between one day and the next.

The International Date Line is located halfway around the world from the prime meridian (0° longitude) or about 180° east (or west) of Greenwich, London, UK, the reference point of time zones. It is also known as the line of demarcation.

As one can see from the map, if India is about 5:30 ahead of GMT, the western countries would be some hours behind GMT. Hence, the difference of date in Vyas’ twitter timeline could well be because his Twitter TimeZone setting was not optimised to show Indian Standard Timing and was set to show some other TimeZone.

Till the time this article was published, however, the journalist had not deleted his tweet even after several people pointed out to him that his tweet was factually incorrect and that Tajinder Bagga had, in fact, tweeted on 20th January itself and not 19th January.


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