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To prepare for Indian Polity for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about the basics of Inter-State Relations. It gives an idea of all the topics important for the IAS Exam and the polity syllabus (GS-II). Inter-State Relations and related topics are extremely important for the UPSC Exam. This is an essential portion of the polity. As IAS aspirants, you should be thorough with the Inter-State Relations. This article will provide you with relevant details about the Zonal Councils.

 

ZONAL COUNCILS
  • The Zonal Councils are the statutory (Extra-constitutional) bodies and are established under States Reorganisation Act (1956) à Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act (1956)
  • The act divided the country into five zones à Northern, Central, Eastern, Western and Southern and provided a zonal council for each zone.
  • The zonal councils aim at promoting cooperation and coordination between states, UTs and the Centre.
  • They are only deliberative and advisory bodies, recommendations are not binding.

 

The Seventh Amendment was needed to implement the recommendations of the States Reorganisation Commission (Constituted in 1953 and headed by Fazal Ali) regarding the reorganization of the states on a linguistic basis.  It paved way for doing away with classification of states in A, B, C and D categories and introduced Union Territories. Andhra Pradesh (1 Oct. 1953) was the first state of Independent India formed on linguistic basis

 

FACTORS CONSIDERED DURING FORMATION OF ZONAL COUNCILS – 
  • Natural divisions of the country
  • River systems
  • Means of communication
  • Cultural and linguistic affinity
  • Requirements of economic development
  • Security
  • Law and order.

 

COMPOSITION OF ZONAL COUNCILS
  1. Home minister of Union government – common chairperson of the five zonal councils
  2. Chief ministers of all the States in the zone – each chief minister acts as a vice-chairman of the council by rotation, holding office for a period of one year at a time.
  3. Two other ministers from each state in the zone.
  4. Administrator of each UT in the zone.

 

FOLLOWING PERSONS CAN BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE ZONAL COUNCIL AS ADVISORS (WITHOUT THE RIGHT TO VOTE)
  1. A person nominated by the Planning Commission (Now NITI Aayog)
  2. Chief secretary of the government of each state in the zone
  3. Development commissioner of each state in the zone.

 

THE OBJECTIVES OF THE ZONAL COUNCILS
  • To achieve an emotional integration of the country.
  • To help in arresting the growth of acute state-consciousness, regionalism, linguism and particularistic trends.
  • To help in removing the after-effects of separation in some cases so that the process of reorganisation, integration and economic advancement may synchronise.
  • To enable the Centre and states to cooperate with each other in social and economic matters and exchange ideas and experience in order to evolve uniform policies.
  • To cooperate with each other in the successful and speedy execution of major development projects.
  • To secure some kind of political equilibrium between different regions of the country.
  • To discuss and make recommendations regarding matters like economic and social planning, linguistic minorities, border disputes, interstate transport, and so on.

 

The Zonal Councils should meet at least twice a year with an agenda proposed by states concerned to maximise co-ordination and promote harmonisation of policies and action having inter- state ramification. The Secretariat of a strengthened Inter-State Council can function as the Secretariat of the Zonal Councils as well. — Punchhi commission on Centre-State relation (2007)

 

The zonal councils should be constituted afresh and reactivated to promote the spirit of federalism. —Sarkaria commission on Centre-state relations (1983)

 

ZONAL COUNCILS IN INDIA
COUNCIL MEMBER STATES HQ
Northern

Zonal Council

 

Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh New Delhi

 

Central

Zonal Council

Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh Allahabad

 

Eastern

Zonal Council

Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha Kolkata

 

Western

Zonal Council

Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu Mumbai

 

Southern

Zonal Council

Andhra Pradesh, Telangana Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry Chennai

 

 

NORTH-EASTERN COUNCIL
  • North-Eastern Council is a non-constitutional institution created by a separate statute of ParliamentNorth-Eastern Council Act of 1971.

 

FUNCTIONS OF NORTH-EASTERN COUNCIL
  • To formulate a unified and coordinated regional plan covering matters of common importance.
  • To review from time to time the measures taken by the member states for the maintenance of security and public order in the region.
  • It is the nodal agency for economic and social development of 8 North Eastern Region States.
  • It is mandated to function as a Regional Planning Body for the North Eastern Region.
  • While formulating the regional plans, it needs to give priority to schemes and projects, benefitting two or more States, provided that in case of Sikkim, the Council shall formulate specific projects and schemes for that State.

 

Recently in 2019, government decided to allocated 30% of the North-Eastern Council’s (NEC’s) budget for developing deprived areas.

 

Sikkim was added in 2002 as the eighth member of the North-Eastern Council.

 

COMPOSITION OF NORTH-EASTERN COUNCIL

 

  • Ex-officio ChairpersonUnion Home Minister
  • Vice-Chairperson – Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of DoNER
  • Members – Governors and Chief Ministers of all the eight States and 3 members nominated by President.

 

ACHIEVEMENTS OF NEC
  • NEPA – North East Police Academy set up at Shillong in 1978
  • NEEPCO – North Eastern Electrical Power Corporation Ltd. set up at Shillong in 1976
  • NERAMAC – North Eastern Region Agriculture Marketing Corporation in Guwahati established in 1982
  • NERIST – North Eastern Regional Institute of Science & Technology, Itanagar, started in 1986
  • RIPAN – Regional Institute of Paramedical & Nursing Sciences, Aizawl set up in 1995
  • NERIWALM – North Eastern Regional Institute of Water and Land Management in Tezpur, Assam established in 1989
  • RIMS – Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal established in 1972
  • NESAC – North Eastern Space Application Centre, Shillong established in in 1983
  • BBCI – Bhubaneswar Boruah Cancer Institute established in 1974
  • RIPSAT – Regional Institute of Pharmaceutical Science & Technology, Agartala, Tripura, established in 1979.
  • CBTC – Cane & Bamboo Technology Centre in Guwahati established in 2004 for promoting cane & bamboo technology in the region.
  • NETDC – North East Tourism Development Council in Shillong established in 2016 for promoting tourism in the region

 

SHOULD NORTH-EASTERN COUNCIL BECAME STATE OF ART RESOURCE CENTRE?
  • NEC was established to act as a platform for development initiatives in the region.
  • To meet the growing aspirations of the people, it is important that the NEC introspect and assess the extent to which it has been able to achieve its objective. There is a need to re-orient and upgrade the NEC.
  • NEC should be given necessary resources, knowledge and skills.
  • If NEC becomes resource center then it could enable the States and the implementing agencies to properly plan and execute projects, promote research and innovations and provide strategic policy vision for the region.
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