What are Zonal Councils?

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What are Zonal Councils? Blog Image


Union Home Minister will attend the Eastern Zonal Council meeting in Kolkata on December 17, 2022.

About Zonal councils:

  • The idea of creation of Zonal Councils was mooted by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1956.
  • The 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.
  • The present composition of each of these Zonal Councils is as under:
  • The Northern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh;
  • The Central Zonal Council, comprising the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh;
  • The Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal;
  • The Western Zonal Council, comprising the States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli;
  • The Southern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • North Eastern Council:
    • The North Eastern States i.e. (i) Assam (ii) Arunachal Pradesh (iii) Manipur (iv) Tripura (v) Mizoram (vi) Meghalaya and (vii) Nagaland are not included in the Zonal Councils and their special problems are looked after by the North Eastern Council, set up under the North Eastern Council Act, 1972.
    • The State of Sikkim has also been included in the North Eastern Council vide North Eastern Council (Amendment) Act, 2002 notified on 23rd December 2002.

What is the organisational structure of Zonal Councils?

  • 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 year 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 for each of the Zonal Councils, Chief Secretaries and another officer/Development Commissioner nominated by each of the States included in the Zone.


  • The main objectives of setting up of Zonal Councils are as under:
    • Bringing out national integration;
    • Arresting the growth of acute State consciousness, regionalism, linguism and particularistic tendencies;
    • Enabling the Centre and the States to co-operate and exchange ideas and experiences;
    • Establishing a climate of co-operation amongst the States for successful and speedy execution of development projects.


  • Each Zonal Council is an advisory body that has the authority to discuss any issue on which the Union and one or more of the States represented therein, as well as some or all of the States represented therein, have an interest in common.
  • It also has the authority to recommend a course of action to the Central Government and the governments of the individual States concerned.
  • In particular, a Zonal Council may discuss, and make recommendations with regard to:
    • 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 reorganisation of the States under the States Reorganisation Act.


Q1) What is the significance of the states Reorganisation Act of 1956?

The States Reorganisation Act, 1956 was a major reform of the boundaries of India's states and territories, organising them along linguistic lines.

Source: All India Radio