External affairs ministry spells out plans on contract hiring

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 27, 2015 01:37 IST

The foreign ministry’s plans to hire people from the academic world and private sector on contract for jobs generally outsourced to think-tanks as part of its efforts to bolster policy planning in a rapidly-changing diplomatic environment, sources familiar with the move told HT.

The recruitments, possibly for a three-year period, will take place in the ministry’s policy planning and research division, which also deals with crucial counter-terrorism and global cyber security issues.

“Instead of certain studies and related assignments being outsourced, now onwards experts will be working on contract within the ministry. After their contract period is over, they will be free to go back to their early profession,” said a source.

This is the first time the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has decided to focus on improving its talent base by recruiting people from the private sector and academia to keep pace with changing manpower requirements. Sources said the ministry was constrained by a shortage of people with skills for policy analysis with a futuristic perspective, a gap the new recruits will help fill.

They will help with a range of issues such as visualising India’s bilateral relationship with a particular country or a regional grouping and analysing the Prime Minister’s visits, sources said.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar and other top MEA officials told the standing committee on external affairs last week the ministry would advertise for positions in its public policy division to draw talent from the academic world and the private sector.

India has 182 missions and posts across the world but only 917 Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers. The MEA has total cadre strength of 4,024, which includes interpreters and officials working in divisions such as legal and treaties.

China has over 4,000 career diplomats, Japan 5,000 and Brazil 1,300. The US has 11,000 foreign service officials.

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