The 21st Central Zonal Council meeting was held in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh. It was chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. It was attended by Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand while representative ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.
The Council discussed various issues including road transport, Pradhanmantri Gramin Sadak Yojna, measures to tackle Naxal violence, modernization of Police, infrastructure development of airports, minimum support price, National health mission and issues related to primary schools. Total 22 issues were discussed out of which 17 were resolved and on three issue directions were given, rest 2 issues between the states will also be resolved very soon.
Zonal Councils were set up under States Reorganization Act, 1956 (thus, they are not constitutional bodies unlike Interstate Council, but are statutory bodies) to foster Inter-State co-operation and co-ordination among the States. The idea of zonal councils emerged during the course of the debate on the report of States Re-organisation Commission 1956 (headed by Fazl Ali).
Zonal Councils provide a common meeting ground for States to promote and facilitate coordinated efforts for fostering economic and social development. They serve a regional form 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 the field of economic and social planning, linguistic minorities, border disputes and inter-State transport etc.