About: Zonal Councils
- The Zonal Councils, five in number, were created under the States Reorganization Act, 1956 in wake of reorganization of the States in 1956.
- It was created with the basic objective to develop the habit of cooperative working among the States, as well as between the Centre and the States.
- It will also provide a meeting ground for the States in different zones for solving inter-State problems and fostering balanced socio economic development of the respective zones.
Various Zonal Councils:
|Zonal Council||Member States/Union Territories|
|Northern Zonal Council||Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh|
|Central Zonal Council||Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh|
|Eastern Zonal Council||Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha|
|Western Zonal Council||Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and the Union Territories of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu|
|Southern Zonal Council||Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and the Union Territory of Puducherry|
The functions of the Zonal Councils are to:
- Deal with matters arising out of the re-organisation of States such as, border problems, linguistic minorities, inter-State transport, etc.
- Initiate measures of common interest and promote a cooperative approach to facilitate economic and social planning.
- Evolve common policies in regard to education, technical, medical and other professions, trade and commerce etc.
- Tackle common law and order problems and devise uniform policies regarding administration of civil and criminal law and Standard Operating Procedures etc;
- Deal with common problems like floods, drought etc.
Organizational set up and working:
- The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of all the Zonal Councils.
- The Office of the Vice-Chairman is held by the Chief Ministers of Member States of the respective Zonal Councils by annual rotation.
- Zonal Councils have Standing Committees which meet from time to time to scrutinize the agenda items and to settle most of the issues at their level. Only those matters which are of adequate importance are referred to the Zonal Councils.
Recent efforts to energize Zonal Councils to promote cooperative federalism:
- The Government energized the forum of Zonal Councils to make it an effective tool for regular interaction amongst the concerned States.
- A target was set for convening at least one meeting each of Zonal Council and its Standing Committee in a year.
- As a result, in the years 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, the meetings of the Zonal Councils and Standing Committees were held regularly.
- A large No. of issues raised both by the State Governments and the Ministries/Departments of Central Government were discussed in these meetings and roughly about 60% of the issues were resolved.
Section : Polity & Governance