- They are statutory bodies established by an act of parliament (State reorganization Act of 1956)
- The home minister of central government is the common chairman of all the zonal councils
- Other members include: The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time, Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.
- At present there are six zonal councils– Northern, Central, Eastern, Western, Southern and North-Eastern
The objectives of the zonal councils are:
- Bringing out national integration
- Arresting the growth of acute State consciousness, regionalism, linguism and particularistic tendencies.
- Enabling the Centre and the States to co-operate and exchange ideas and experiences.
- Establishing a climate of co-operation amongst the States for successful and speedy execution of development projects.