Published on: July 15, 2022



Why in news? 

Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a meeting of the Northern Zonal Council in Jaipur, where security, road, transport, industries, water, power and other issues of common interests was discussed

Need for the regional councils?

  • Regional councils provide a forum for discussion in a structured manner on issues affecting one or more states or issues between the Centre and the states
  • Regional councils help in developing a coordinated approach through discussions and exchange of views between states on important issues of social and economic development.
  • The zonal councils take up issues involving the Centre and states and one or many states falling in the zone. The zonal councils, thus, provide a forum for resolving disputes and irritants between the Centre and the States and among many States in the zone.
  • Also, these zonal council meetings are used by the States and Union Territories to share their best practices.
  • The councils also discuss a broad range of issues, which include boundary-related disputes, security, infrastructure-related matters like road, transport, industries, water, and power among other matters pertaining to forests and environment, housing, education, food security, and tourism and transport among others.

The zonal councils:

  • There are five zonal councils in the country which were set up in 1957 under Section 15-22 of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956.
  • The Union Home Minister is the chairman of each of these five zonal councils and chief minister of the host State – to be chosen on a rotational basis every year – is the vice chairman.
  • Two more ministers from each State are nominated as members by the Governor

The Northern Zonal Council

  • The Northern Zonal Council comprises Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The participants

  • The meeting will be attended by chief ministers, ministers, chief secretaries, principal secretaries and senior officers of the member States and senior officers of Central government.

The procedure:

  • As per the established procedure and practice, the zonal council meeting is preceded by a standing committee meeting of the council, in which the agenda items to be placed before the council are scrutinised and prioritised.