Map | An alphabetical journey across India: from Andaman to West Bengal

Use this map as an interactive guide to India’s tribal cultural heritage. There are 28 states and 8 Union territories in the country. Union Territories are administered by the President through an Administrator appointed by him/her. | Learn more >>

Zonal Councils as defined by the Government of India

Zonal Cultural Centres: List of “Component States” allocated to each centre >>

Learn more about Jawaharlal Nehru’s “five principles” for the policy to be pursued vis-a-vis the tribals >>
Photo © Indian Express


The Zonal Councils were created vide Part-III of the States Re-Organisation Act, 1956 as a part of the scheme of the reorganisation of the States and matters connected therewith.

Section 15 of the States Reorgnization Act 1956 provides that there shall be a Zonal Council for each of the five zones of the country. The present composition of each Zonal Council is as under:

Northern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh,  Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi, Union Territory of Chandigarh, Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
Central Zonal Council, comprising the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh;
Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal;
Western Zonal Council, comprising the States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and  Daman & Diu.
Southern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

Source: Zonal Councils Genesis (“Page last updated on:13/02/2020”)
Date visited: 3 April 2021


The idea of creation of Zonal Councils was mooted by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1956 when during the course of debate on the report of the States Re-organisation Commission, he suggested that the States proposed to be reorganised may be grouped into four or five zones having an Advisory Council “to develop the habit of cooperative working” among these States. This suggestion was made by Pandit Nehru at a time when linguistic hostilities and bitterness as a result of re-organisation of the States on linguistic pattern were threatening the very fabric of our nation. As an antidote to this situation, it was suggested that a high level advisory forum should be set up to minimise the impact of these hostilities and to create healthy inter-State and Centre-State environment with a view to solving inter-State problems and fostering balanced socio economic development of the respective zones. […]


Each Zonal Council has set up a Standing Committee consisting of Chief Secretaries of the member States of their respective Zonal Councils. These Standing Committees meet from time to time to scrutinize items/issues sponsored for consideration of Zonal Councils, resolve as many issues as possible at their level, and recommend important issues for consideration at the meetings of Zonal Councils. Senior Officers of the Planning Commission and other Central Ministries are also associated with the meetings of the Standing Committees depending upon necessity. […]


Each Zonal Council is an advisory body and may discuss any matter in which some or all of the States represented in that Council, or the Union and one or more of the States represented in that Council, have a common interest.

In particular, a Zonal Council may discuss, and make recommendations with regard to,-
• any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning;
• any matter concerning border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State
transport; and
• any matter connected with, or arising out of, the re-organisation of the States under the States Reorganisation Act. […]

Source: “Zonal Councils” (Government of India)
Date visited: 3 April 2021

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

India is a secular state with a constitution committed to the unique demography, history and culture of each state and union territory – >>

Explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>


States and Union Territories do not generally account for persons with “tribal roots”, unless they are home to people recognized as members of a  Scheduled Tribe (ST) under the constitution of India. Yet countless people with “tribal roots” live in metropolitan and touristic areas such as Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Goa, Kolkata, Mumbai. Their ranks include students, professionals, scientists and employees working for government agencies, educational institutions, banks and businesses.

While an educated person with tribal roots may be lauded for being assimilated as “main stream”, many others remain unnoticed even by their neighbours and local authorities. Their ranks include vulnerable boys and girls – many among them working as live-in maids – who “simply disappear” from their villages without a trace. They are being lured in growing numbers, often with false promises of a “good job” in the city. | Rescue and rehabilitation measures for victims of human trafficking and child abuse >>

How many Scheduled Tribes have been identified so far?
There are over 700 tribes (with overlapping communities in more than one State) which have been notified under Article 342 of the Constitution of India, spread over different States and Union Territories of the country. The largest number of main tribal communities (62) has been specified in relation to the State of Orissa.  The Scheduled Tribes have been specified in relation to all the States and Union Territories except Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Pondicherry […]

Source: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Date Visited: Mon Apr 10 2017 11:41:28 GMT+0200 (CEST)

Note: for official figures include “scheduled tribe ST” along with a union state or region, e.g. “Chhattisgarh ST community”, “Scheduled tribe Tamil Nadu census”, “ST Kerala census”, “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group Jharkhand”, “PVTG Rajasthan”, “Adivasi ST Kerala”, “Adibasi ST West Bengal” etc.

List of Indian periodicals and sites covered by the present Custom search engine

Suggest another Indian periodical for inclusion here >>

Disclaimer: All links and quotes found on this website are for information purposes only. We cannot assume liability for the accuracy or completeness of the information provided on the linked websites and distance ourselves from any illegal or offensive contents.