Union Home Minister Amit Shah will chair a meeting of the Northern Zonal Council to be held on July 9 in Jaipur, where security, road, transport, industries, water, power and other issues of common interests will be discussed, officials said.
The Northern Zonal Council comprises Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh.
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, a home ministry official said on Wednesday. It will see discussions on issues of common interests in areas of security, road, transport, industries, water, power, economic and social planning, the official said.
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. The Modi government has been regularly holding meetings of the zonal councils as part of its overall strategy to strengthen and promote cooperative and competitive federalism in the country, another official said.
The 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. In the last eight years, under the guidance of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the number of meetings of the zonal councils and its standing committees has increased by three times, the official said.
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.
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 ministers 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.