Amit Shah calls for competitive, cooperative federalism among States

States should use Zonal Councils to settle issues with other States, Centre, says Union Home Minister

Union Minister of Home and Cooperation Amit Shah on Sunday said that the ancient culture, traditions and languages of the States of southern India enriched the country’s culture and legacy. “India’s development can’t be imagined without the very important contribution of the States of southern India,” he said.

Mr. Shah, who chaired the 29th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council here, said that the Narendra Modi government would respect all regional languages of the country. He said he would be happy to see delegates feeling free to speak in the languages of their States in the future.

He emphasised that the States should use the zonal councils as platforms for amicably settling inter-State disputes and promoting cooperative federalism. “Zonal Councils provide the platform to foster such collaboration through a structured mechanism for dialogue and discussion continuously on the issues affecting two or more States or the Centre and States, in the spirit that strong States make a strong nation,” Mr. Shah said.

“The Zonal Councils take up issues involving Centre and States and one or many States falling in the zone, thus providing a forum for resolving disputes and irritants between Centre and States and among many States in the zone. The Zonal Councils discuss a broad range of issues which include boundary-related disputes, security, infrastructure-related matters like road, transport, industries, water, matters of forests and environment, housing, education, food security, tourism and power,” the Union Minister said.

Vaccination

“We have been able to achieve 111 crore vaccine doses as of today (Sunday) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a big achievement and an example of cooperative federalism. It is Prime Minister Modi’s vision to leverage cooperative and competitive federalism to achieve all-round growth in the country,” he said.

When the pandemic began, it was said that India would not be able to cope with it. However, India quickly ramped up its health infrastructure as well as domestic production of vaccines under Mr. Modi’s leadership, the Home Minister said.

“Today we have overcome fear about the pandemic, and the Union government will continue to do everything possible to cover all States under the vaccination programme,” Mr. Shah maintained.

“Zonal Council’s are advisory bodies in nature and yet we have been able to successfully solve many issues. These councils provide an opportunity for interaction at the highest level among members,” Mr. Shah said, adding that in the last seven years 18 meetings of Zonal Councils were held compared to a very few held earlier. He said that meetings of different Zonal Councils were convened regularly and this could happen only with the cooperation of all State governments and Central ministries and departments.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Lieutenant Governors of Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Telangana Home Minister Md. Mahmood Ali took part in the meeting.

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