of Chandigarh, held here today. It was attended by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Shri Virbhadra singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, Shri Prakash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Haryana, Shri Manohar Lal, Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Nirmal Singh, and other Ministers and Chief Secretaries of the member States and the Advisor to the Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh is the current Vice-Chairman of the Council.
While making opening remarks, the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh has said that the Inter State Council Meeting is crucial for the strengthening of the Centre-State relations. Cooperative Federalism must be strong and the Centre has to work for strengthening the States, he added. The Home Minister also said that the Tulsi commission report should be implemented to strengthen the Centre-State relations.
The meeting of the Council which took place after a gap of about three years indicates the resolve of the present Government at the Centre to revitalize the statutory institutional mechanism of the Zonal Councils and the Inter-State Council for promoting cooperative federalism in the country.
The Northern Zonal Council which met today reviewed the progress of the implementation of the recommendations made at the last meeting of the Council held at Chandigarh in July 2012. The Council also took up for discussion several social, economic and development issues which have currently assumed importance in the context of inter-state and centre-state relations. The issues which were discussed today included procurement of agri-produce on Minimum Support Price, Interlinking of Rivers, Eco Sensitive Zone, Air Pollution in Delhi and setting up Homes for the intellectually impaired/mentally challenged in all Northern States etc. The Northern Zonal Council also deliberated upon some issues suggested by the Inter-State Council Secretariat.
In the past, meetings of the Zonal Councils have been held at irregular intervals. The present Government is keen to give due importance to Inter-State and Centre-State issues through reactivation of the Zonal Councils and the Inter-State Council. The Government realizes the immense potential of these statutory institutions in resolving regional issues, speeding up economic development of States, ensuring inclusive growth and sustainable development of all regions in a balanced manner, and promoting the goal of cooperative federalism.
All the Chief Ministers and the Ministers have also addressed the meeting. The meeting of the Council ended with the decision to convene its next meeting at the earliest. The Union Home Minister thanked all the participants and assured the member States of the Northern Zonal Council of all possible cooperation from the Council Secretariat.