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67th plenary meeting of North Eastern Council held in Shillong, Meghalaya

The 67th plenary meeting of North Eastern Council (NEC) was recently held in Shillong, Meghalaya. It was chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The meeting was attended by Union Minister of Development of NER and Governors and Chief Ministers of the north-eastern States.

Key Facts

The meeting discussed development projects of Northeast States. It also reviewed various presentations on matters related to all-round development of NER. The status of NEC-funded projects was also discussed. It also deliberated on livelihood programmes, management of water resources, afforestation and doubling farmer’s income, by 2022, road connectivity, Implementation of Poshan Abhiyan and Ayushman Bharat etc. It also evaluated security and connectivity matters in the region. For the first time since it was established in 1971, NEC discussed topics related to security in the region. It also discussed issues related to Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and proposed Naga accord.

North Eastern Council (NEC)

NEC is the nodal agency for economic and social development of North Eastern Region (NER) which consists of eight states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. It was constituted in 1971 under North Eastern Council (NEC) Act, 1971 (Thus NEC is statutory body).  In June 2018, the chairmanship of NEC was transferred by Union Cabinet to Home Minister from Minister of Development of NER.

NEC servers as an apex level body for securing balanced and coordinated development and facilitating coordination with NER states. It has been mandated to function as regional planning body for NER. It gives priority to schemes and projects while formulating regional plan for this area benefiting two or more states.

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23rd meeting of Western Zonal Council in held in Gandhinagar

The 23rd meeting of Western Zonal Council was held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat under the chairmanship of Union home minister Rajnath Singh. The meeting was attended by chief ministers of Maharashtra and Gujarat, ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, administrator of UTs of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli and senior officers from Central and state governments.

Zonal Councils

Zonal Councils were set up under the States Reorganization Act, 1956 (so it is not constitutional body) to foster Inter-State co-operation and co-ordination among the States. Currently, there are total five zonal councils viz. Northern, Western, Eastern, Central and Southern. They are not constitutional bodies and they are only deliberative and advisory bodies. The Union Home Minister is its Chairman.

Zonal Councils provide a common meeting ground for the States to promote and facilitate coordinated efforts for fostering economic and social development. They are regional fora of cooperative endeavour for States linked with each other geographically, economically and culturally. They are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on matters of common interest in field of economic and social planning, linguistic minorities, border disputes and inter-State transport etc.

Note: The north eastern states are not included in these five zonal Councils. Their special problems are looked after by North Eastern Council, set up under the North Eastern Council Act, 1972. It is also headed by Union Home Minister.

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