New Delhi, Sep 2: Union Home Minister Amit Shah will chair a meeting of the Southern Zonal Council in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on Saturday where issues like sharing of river water, coastal security, connectivity and other issues of common interests will be discussed, officials said on Friday.
The Southern Zonal Council comprises Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
The meeting will be attended by chief ministers, ministers, chief secretaries, principal secretaries and senior officers of the member states and senior officers of the central government, a home ministry official said.
It will discuss issues of common interests in areas of sharing of river water, coastal security, connectivity, power and other issues, he said.
As per the established procedure and practice, the zonal council meeting is preceded by a standing committee 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 a 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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the number of meetings of the zonal councils and its standing committees have increased by three times, the official said.
Regional councils help in developing a coordinated approach through discussion and exchange of views between states on important issues of social and economic development, he said.
The zonal councils take up issues involving centres and states or 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.
The meetings of the zonal councils are used by the states and UTs to share their best practices, the official said.
The councils also discuss broad range of issues which include boundary-related disputes, security, infrastructure-related matters like road, transport, industries, water, and power, matters pertaining to forests and environment, housing, education, food security, tourism and transport etc.
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 the chief minister of the host state (to be chosen by rotation every year) is the vice-chairman. Two more ministers from each state are nominated as members by the governor.