New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah is set to lead the 26th session of the Eastern Zonal Council in the capital of Bihar this coming Sunday, as confirmed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The Eastern Zonal Council encompasses the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand. This meeting, coordinated by the Inter-State Council Secretariat under the MHA in partnership with the Bihar government, aims to address regional concerns and foster collaboration.
"The 26th Eastern Zonal Council meeting will see the participation of Chief Ministers from member states, accompanied by two senior ministers from each state. Additionally, Chief Secretaries and high-ranking officials from state governments, alongside representatives from the Central government, will also engage in discussions," stated the MHA in an official release.
Established in 1957 under Sections 15-22 of the States Reorganization Act, 1956, the five Zonal Councils are overseen by the Union Home Minister. The Chief Ministers of the states, along with administrators or Lieutenant Governors from corresponding Union Territories, serve as members, with one appointed as Vice-Chairman on a rotational basis each year.
Moreover, two additional ministers from each state are nominated by the Governor to join the council. Each Zonal Council has formed a standing committee led by Chief Secretaries. Notably, the Chief Minister of Bihar will act as the Vice Chairman for the 26th Eastern Zonal Council session.
Issues put forth by the states are initially brought to the Standing Committee of the respective Zonal Council for discussion. Matters that cannot be resolved amicably are escalated to the Zonal Council meetings for further deliberation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasized the significance of leveraging cooperative and competitive federalism to achieve comprehensive development. Zonal Councils, in line with this vision, serve as platforms facilitating regular dialogues and discussions on issues affecting multiple states or the relationship between the Center and the states.
Since 2014, a total of 55 meetings have been conducted across various Zonal Councils, encompassing 29 sessions of Standing Committees and 26 Zonal Council meetings, over the past nine years.