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Northern Zonal Council

  • Published
    29th Sep, 2023
Context

Recently, the Home Minister has attended 31st meeting of the Northern Zonal Council at Amritsar, Punjab, and emphasized that the Zonal Councils has over the years proved to be a significant factor in promoting healthy bond of mutual understanding and cooperation in various spheres.

What are Zonal Councils?

  • Zonal Councils are the statutory bodies.
  • They are established by an Act of the Parliament, that is, States Reorganisation Act of 1956.
  • The act divided the country into five zones- Northern, Central, Eastern, Western and Southern and provided a zonal council for each zone.
  • While forming these zones, several factors have been taken into account which include:
    • The natural divisions of the country.
    • The river systems and means of communication.
    • The cultural and linguistic affinity.
    • The requirements of economic development, security and law and order.

Composition:

  • The Northern Zonal Council: It comprises the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh,
  • The Central Zonal Council: It comprises the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh,
  • The Eastern Zonal Council: It comprises the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Sikkim and West Bengal,
  • The Western Zonal Council: It comprises the States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
  • The Southern Zonal Council: It comprises the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

Organizational Structure:

  • Chairman: The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.
  • Vice Chairman: The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one yer at a time.
  • Members: Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.
  • Advisers: One person nominated by the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog) for each of the Zonal Councils, Chief Secretaries and another officer/Development Commissioner nominated by each of the States included in the Zone.

Functions of the Councils:

  • Any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning,
  • Any matter concerning border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport,
  • Any matter connected with or arising out of, the reorganization of the States under the States Reorganisation Act.

About Northern Zonal Council:

  • The Northern Zonal Council comprises the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh.
  • The Zonal Councils provide an excellent forum where irritants between Centre and States and amongst States can be resolved through free and frank discussions and consultations.
  • Through discussion and exchange of views, the Zonal Councils help in developing a coordinated approach among the States on important issues of socio and economic development.
  • The Zonal Councils also discuss and make recommendations on issues of common interest of the States.

Most recently, a North-Eastern Council was created by a separate Act of Parliament, the North-Eastern Council Act of 1971.

 

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