Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah will chair the 26th meeting of the Western Zonal Council on Monday at Gandhinagar, the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
The Western Zonal Council comprises the states of Gujarat, Goa, and Maharashtra and the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The meeting is being organized by the Inter-State Council Secretariat under the Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with the Government of Gujarat.
The 26th meeting of the Western Zonal Council will be attended by the Chief Ministers of the member states and the Administrator of the Union Territories, along with two senior ministers from each state.
The Chief Secretaries, Advisors and other senior officers of the state governments and union territories, union home secretary, secretary inter-state council and other senior officers of the central government will also participate in the meeting.
Five Zonal Councils were established in the year 1957 under Section 15-22 of the States Reorganization Act, 1956. The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of these five Zonal Councils, while the Chief Ministers of the States included in the respective Zonal Council and the administrator and lieutenant governor of the union territories are its members.
Two more ministers from each state are nominated by the Governor as members of the council. Each Zonal Council has also constituted a standing committee at the level of chief secretaries.
The Home Ministry further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed the need to leverage cooperative and competitive federalism for the all-round development of the country.
“In the spirit that strong States make strong nations, Zonal Councils provide a platform to enhance cooperation through a systematic mechanism for regular dialogue and discussion on issues affecting two or more states or the Center and the States,” it said in a statement.
Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation, Amit Shah, has stressed the cooperative federalism approach to empower states and promote a better understanding of the policy framework between the centre and the states.
He has advocated using Zonal Councils to resolve disputes and promote cooperative federalism.
“Under the Chairmanship of Union Home Minister, meetings of all five Zonal Councils were organized last year. This year, all meetings of the respective standing committees have been held prior to the meetings of the Zonal Councils,” the ministry further said.
The Zonal Councils hold discussions on a wide range of issues including infrastructure, mining, water supply, environment and forests and state restructuring, as well as direct benefit transfer (DBT), wider expansion of telecommunications or internet and issues of general regional interests.
Many issues of national importance are also discussed in each meeting of the Zonal Councils. These include speedy investigation of cases of sexual offense and rape against women and children, implementation of the scheme of Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) for expeditious disposal of rape and POCSO Act cases, facilitation of banks/India Post Payment Bank branches within 5 kms in each village, addressing malnutrition among children through Poshan Abhiyan, reducing drop-out rate of school children, participation of government hospitals in Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and issues of general interest at the national level.
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