MEA restructures IFS rules; seniority rule amended

The President of India through the Ministry of External Affairs has issued a notification in the Gazette amending the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) (RCSP) rules, 1961.

The new rules that have been notified have amended certain provisions of the previous set of rules and have been called the IFS (RCSP) Rules, 2020.

The first change here is related to the seniority rules.

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According to the new rules, those individuals who have been promoted to the ranks of the IFS will get backdated seniority of just three years at the level of an Under Secretary. Previously, the individuals received eight years of backdated seniority at the level of a Section Officer upon entering the IFS through the rank and files ( individuals who are from the Group B and C services of the MEA).

The previous rules were termed absurd by many IFS officers who were suddenly reporting into those individuals who had been their juniors earlier.

Back in 2013, certain officers had objected to these rules and rushed to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to question this absurdity. The team of six officers was led by the then Deputy Secretary in the Europe West Division, Esha Srivastava (IFS-2004). It also consisted of S Satish Kumar (IFS-2005), Ninad Deshpande (IFS-2005), S Raghuram (IFS- 2006), Amit A Shukla (IFS- 2007) and R Anitha Nandhini (IFS-2008).

The other changes that have been effected include the creation of a Foreign Service Board to be headed by the Foreign Secretary as the Chairman, which will determine postings of those in Service other than those relating to Ambassadors.

The Ambassadors and Envoys are appointed by the President of India on the aid and advice of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), whereas others are appointed by the Ministry of External Affairs.

The new rules hope to streamline the system of appointments and make it harmonious.

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