The southern zonal council meeting in Tirupati on Sunday, chaired by home minister Amit Shah and attended by government heads of the southern states and Union territories, was able to resolve 40 of the 51 pending issues of concern, according to home ministry officials.
At the 29th meeting of the southern zonal council attended by the CMs of Andhra, Karnataka and Puducherry; senior ministers deputed by CMs of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana; and LGs of Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep, Shah described the nationwide administering of 111 crore doses so far as a big achievement and “an example of cooperative federalism”. At the same time, he urged the member states to speed up second dose vaccinations below sub-division level, with CMs and officers personally monitoring the progress.
Shah also requested the southern states to involve officials and experts in firming up their inputs on the proposed amendments to Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act, and submit them soon.
Among the other issues that Shah underlined for follow-up by the member states were creation of an independent director of prosecution to speed up prosecution; priority to tackling spread of narcotics and drugs usage; establishing at least one forensic science college with a syllabus in their local language, so that manpower can be trained to meet needs of forensic investigation; adherence to 60-day timeframe for investigating sexual crimes against children; observing November 15 as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas by developing an action plan to showcase the contribution of tribals to India’s freedom struggle and development of their states.
In his opening address at the meeting, Shah reiterated the Modi government’s commitment to promoting Hindi alongside all regional Indian languages. He in fact urged the delegates to speak in their own state’s language, with arrangements also having been made for translation of proceedings into the languages spoken by member states of the council.
Shah said the zonal council meetings, which involve consultations on issues of federal concern at the highest level, have been able to solve many issues despite being advisory in nature.