MoFA working to bring Foreign Service ActThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) is working to bring Foreign Service Act.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) is working to bring Foreign Service Act.
Despite foreign service being a dedicated arm of the country’s civil service, it is still guided by some regulations, guidelines or ministerial decisions for the lack of an act to guide it.
A team formed under senior Joint Secretary Bharat Raj Poudyal, who is also the spokesperson for MoFA, has been holding discussions within the ministry and
taking feedbacks prepare the act. The new act will cover matters like ambassadorial appointments, role of various government agencies in the appointment of ambassadors, attaché and consular.
It will also define what kind of service it will be and the kind of people the foreign service wants to hire. The act will also lay down the administrative structure of the foreign service and categorise missions, an official privy to the matter said.
“Once the template is ready, we will sit with Ministry of General Administration and others to finalise the act,” said the official, adding that the act would help ensure policy level stability in the ministry.
The act will also be instrumental in curbing unnecessary intervention from the political leadership and other government entities.
One of the proposals is creating two additional posts of secretary at the top—immediately after the foreign secretary.
“There are a lot of things a foreign secretary needs to deal with. So we have proposed creating two senior posts,” said the official.
Attempts were earlier made to create a post at the Prime Minister’s Office parallel to the post of foreign secretary.
Such incidents and attempts could undermine the foreign service, said officials, who then made efforts to make it “specialised service”. “Now we are working to bring a new act to permanently curb such attempts,” the officials added.
“Foreign service is a “special arm” of civil service and it should be led by career diplomats,” said another official.
Poudyal said the act is in nascent stage and that discussions are underway at various levels.