Zonal Councils

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Union Home Minister will chair the 26th meeting of the Western Zonal Council at Gandhinagar.

About Zonal Councils

  • The idea of the creation of Zonal Councils was mooted by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, in 1956.
  • In the light of the vision of Pandit Nehru, five Zonal Councils were set up vide Part-III of the States Re-organisation Act, 1956. Hence, they are statutory bodies.
  • The act divided the country into five zones (Northern, Central, Eastern, Western and Southern) and provided a zonal council for each zone.
  • 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.
  • The main objectives of setting up Zonal Councils are under
    • Bringing out national integration;
    • Arresting the growth of acute State consciousness, regionalism, linguism and particularistic tendencies;
    • Enabling the Centre and the States to cooperate and exchange ideas and experiences;
    • Establishing a climate of cooperation amongst the States for successful and speedy execution of development projects.
  • Each Zonal Council is an advisory body and may discuss any matter in which some or all of the States represented in that Council, or the Union and one or more of the States represented in that Council, have a common interest and advise the Central Government and the Government of each State concerned as to the action to be taken on any such matter.
  • 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 reorganization of the States under the States Reorganization Act;
  • 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 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 Chief Secretaries of the States represented in such Zonal Councils act as the Secretary of the respective Council by rotation, holding office for a period of one year at a time.
    • The Joint Secretary of Zonal Councils is a Director Level officer from All India Services or Central Secretariat Services.
  • 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


Q1) Who are linguistic minorities?

The linguistic minorities are considered as a group or collectivities of individuals residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language or script of their own. Although the word linguistic minorities has not been defined in the Constitution of India, the language of the minority group need not be one of the twenty two languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Source: Amit Shah To Head Western Zonal Council Meet At Gandhinagar Today