JK News Today

Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah chaired the 31st meeting of the Northern Zonal Council at Amritsar, Punjab, today. Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana & Himachal Pradesh, Lt. Governors of Delhi, Jammu Kashmir &Ladakh, Administrator of Chandigarh, Senior Ministers from member States, Union Home Secretary, Secretary, Inter State Council Secretariat, Chief Secretaries from the member States in the Northern Zone and other senior officers from the States and UTs and Central Ministries & Departments participated in the meeting.

Amit Shah said that in the last 5 years, under the leadership of Prime Minister NarendraModi, the role of zonal councils has changed from advisory nature to action platforms. He said that Northern Zonal Council has an important place from the point of view of development and security of the country, with 21% of the country’s land and 13% of the population, more than 35% of the food grains are produced in the Northern region. Shri Shah said that the majority of personnel in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Army, guarding the country’s borders, come from the states and Union Territories in the Northern Zonal Council.

Union Home Minister said that under the leadership of Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi, the government has been successful in cracking down on narcotics and terrorism. He said that the Modi government is committed towards strengthening the security system on the border, soon anti-drone system will be deployed on our country’s borders. Home Minister requested all the member states of the Northern ZonalCouncil to resolve their disputes related to water sharing with an open mind and mutual discussion.

Amit Shah asked all the member states to pay special attention to issues like cooperation movement in the country, dropout rate of school children and malnutrition, terming them as collective priority. He said that not even a single child should remain malnourished in the country, it is the responsibility of all of us to reduce the school dropout rate, and, giving impetus to the cooperative movement will help in taking more than 60 crore people of the country towards prosperity.Amit Shah urges all member states to adopt natural and organic farming, as it will be hugely beneficial for the farmers of the country.

Union Home Minister assured all possible help from the Centre to the Himachal Pradesh government to deal with floods situation in the state and said that the whole country is standing by Himachal in this hour of crisis. On the call of the Union Home Minister, the Northern Zonal Council welcomed the spectacular success of Chandrayaan-3, the worldwide appreciation of India’s leadership and global welfare at the G20 Summit and the historic Women’s Reservation Bill passed by the Parliament.

While appreciating the role of the Zonal Councils, he mentioned that though the Zonal Councils are advisory in character, but over the years, they have proved to be a significant factor in promoting healthy bond of mutual understanding and cooperation in various spheres. The Zonal Councils provide the opportunity for personal inter-action at the highest level amongst the members and serve as a useful forum for resolving issues of difficult and complex nature in an atmosphere of amity and goodwill. Through discussion and exchange of views, the Zonal Councils help in developing a coordinated approach among the States on important issues of socio and economic development. The Zonal Councils also discuss and make recommendations on issues of common interest of the States.

Union Home Minister, Amit Shah mentioned that, the meetings of the 5 Zonal Councils are now being convened regularly by the Inter State Council Secretariat of the Ministry of Home Affairs with the cooperation of the State Governments. He observed that there has been substantial increase in the number of meetings of the Zonal Councils and its Standing Committees. Since June 2014, in the last 10 years, total 54 meetings of Zonal Council & its Standing Committee have been held making the frequency more than double in comparison to the meetings held during the 10 years from the year 2004 to May 2014.

The Northern Zonal Council in the 31st meeting at Amritsar discussed over total 28 issues. Some crucial issues concerning the member States in particular and the country as a whole were ‘Issues related to sharing of inter-state river waters, Coverage of villages by Bank Branches/Postal Banking facilities, Effective implementation of Direct Benefit Transfer for Social Sector Schemes, issues relating to Punjab University, Road connectivity under PMGSY, Prevention of cyber-crimes, JalJeevan Mission, Resumption of Flights under UDAN Scheme, Speedy investigation of cases of sexual offence/rape against women and children, Implementation of the Scheme of Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) for expeditious disposal of rape and POCSO Act cases, Strengthening of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), Law purchase of Agriculture Land, etc.

Good Practices adopted by Member States/UTs were also shared in the meeting.