Zonal Councils are statutory bodies (i.e. not provided in the constitution) created by an act of Parliament called the State Reorganisation Act (1956).
The Zonal Councils are the outcome of the re-organisation of the states on basis of language or culture. Other factors are river or mode of communication, security, basis and needs of economic development, law and order. The objectives to crate Zonal Councils are to strengthen federal system and to foster or develop habit of Cooperative working among states and/or the Union.
Each Zonal Council consists of:
- The Home Minister of the Central Government, who acts as the Chairman for all the Zonal councils.
- The Chief Ministers of all the states in the Zone (each CM act as Vice Chairman by rotation and holds office for 1 year).
- Two ministers from each of the states in the Zone.
- The Administrator of each Union Territory in the Zone.
At present there are Six Zonal Councils and these are as follows:-
- Northern – Having its Headquarters at Delhi.
- Central – Having its Headquarters at Allahabad.
- Eastern – Having its Headquarters at Calcutta.
- Western – Having its Headquarters at Mumbai.
- Southern – Having its Headquarters at Chennai.
- North Eastern – Which was created in 1971.
The North Eastern Council is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region, which consists of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
The North Eastern Council was constituted in 1971 by an Act of Parliament. The Constitution of the Council has marked the beginning of a new chapter of concerted and planned endeavor for the rapid development of the Region.
Over the last thirty five years, the NEC has been instrumental in setting in motion a new economic endeavor aimed at removing the basic handicaps that stood in the way of normal development of the region and has ushered in an era of new hope in this backward area full of great potentialities.