Sexual assault cases to top agenda at zonal council meeting to be chaired by Amit Shah

first_imgSpeedy investigations into sexual assault cases, a comprehensive security plan and improved security at railway stations will top the agenda of the 24th meeting of the Western Zonal Council, to be chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Panjim on August 22. The council, functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)’s Inter-State Council Secretariat, comprises Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The Central government has also asked the States to provide an update on the MHA’s refusal to give funds for modernisation of the police force in the absence of a comprehensive State security plan, said senior officials. The previous meeting of the council was chaired by former Home Minister Rajnath Singh on April 26, 2018 at Gandhinagar.The August 22 meeting will also discuss the implementation and mismanagement, if any, of the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme as well as forest clearances pending for construction of the third line in the Wirpur-Sirpur section of major train projects. Goa was finalised as the venue for this year’s meeting as the previous meetings were held in Gujarat and Mumbai, senior officials said. The eight items on the agenda were recently finalised by Sanjeev Gupta, Special Secretary, MHA. These include surplus land to be collected from various Central government organisations for the purpose of Housing for All schemes, and clearances under the Right of Way policy for freight corridors planned across the States. “The priority of the meeting will be speedy investigations into cases related to sexual assault and the conviction rate. The MHA is keen on knowing our (States’) response to its refusal to approve modernisation of police force unless we have put in place a State Security Plan,” said a State official.The five zonal councils created under the States Re-Organisation Act, 1956 are advisory bodies that will discuss and make recommendations with regard to any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning between the Centre and States, border disputes, linguistic minorities, inter-State transport or matters connected with the reorganisation of States under this Act. The Act provides that there shall be a zonal council for each of the five zones: North, Central, Eastern, Southern and Western.last_img

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