4(1)(b)(i) Particulars of organizations functions and duties of the MEA

April 07, 2021

1. Historical background

2. Structure of the Indian Foreign Service (A)

3. Functions

4. Allocation of business to the Ministry of External Affairs

Historical background

Origin of the Indian Foreign Service can be traced back to the British rule when the Foreign Department was created to conduct business with the "Foreign European Powers”. In fact it was on September 13, 1783, when the Board of Directors of the East IndiaCompany passed a resolution at Fort William, Calcutta (now Kolkata), to create a department, which could help "relieve the pressure” on the Warren Hastings administration in conducting its "secret and political business”. Subsequently known as the "Indian Foreign Department”, it went aheadwith the expansion of diplomatic representation, wherever necessary,to protect British interests. Origin of the Indian Foreign Service can be traced back to the British rule when the Foreign Department was created to conduct business with the "Foreign European Powers”.In fact it was on September 13, 1783, when the Board of Directors of the East India Company passed a resolution at Fort William, Calcutta (now Kolkata), to create a department,which could help "relieve the pressure” on the Warren Hastings administration in conducting its "secret and political business”. Subsequently known as the "Indian Foreign Department”,it went ahead with the expansion of diplomatic representation, wherever necessary, to protect British interests.

Foreign,In 1843, Governor-General Ellenborough carried out administrative reforms under which the Secretariat of the Government was organized under four departments Foreign, Home, Finance and Military. Each was headed by a Secretary level officer. The foreign department Secretary was entrusted with the "conduct of all correspondence belonging to the external and internal diplomatic relations of the government”. From the very beginning, a distinction was maintained between the "foreign” and "political” functions of the Foreign Department; relations with all "Asiatic powers” (including native princely states of India during the British Raj) were treated as "political” and European with allpowers as "foreign”.

Although the Government of India Act, 1935 sought to delineate more clearly functions of the "Foreign” and "Political” wings of the Foreign Department, it was soon realized that it was administratively imperative to completely bifurcate the Foreign department. Consequently, the External Affairs Department was set up separately under the direct chargeof the Governor-General.

The idea of establishing a separate diplomatic service to handle the external activities of the Government of India originated from a note dated September 30, 1944, recorded by Lt-Gen T.J. Hutton, Secretary, Planning and Development Department of theGovernment. When this note was referred to the Department of External Affairs for comments, Mr. Olaf Caroe, the Foreign Secretary, recorded his comments in an exhaustive note detailing the scope, composition and functions of the proposed service. Mr. Caroe pointed out that as India emerged to a position of autonomy and national consciousness, it was imperative to build up a system of representation abroad that would be in complete harmony with the objectives of the future government.

In September 1946, on the eve of India's independence, the Government of India decided to create a service called the Indian Foreign Service for India's diplomatic, consular and commercial representation overseas.

In 1947, there was a near seamless transformation of the Foreign and Political department of the British India government into what then became the new Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations and in 1948 the first batch recruited under the combined Civil service examination system of the Union Public Service Commission joined the service. This system of entry has remained the staple mode of intake into the IFS to this day.

Structure of the Indian Foreign Service (A)

A Foreign Service Officer begins his career abroad as a Third Secretary and is promoted to Second Secretary as soon as he is confirmed in service. Subsequent promotionsare to the levels of First Secretary, Counsellor, Minister and Ambassador/High Commissioner / Permanent Representative. Officers can also be posted to Indian Consulates abroad wherethe hierarchy (going upwards) is Vice-Consul, Consul and Consul General.

The hierarchy at the Ministry of External Affairs includes 6 stages: Under Secretary

1. Deputy Secretary

2. Director

3. Joint Secretary

4. Additional Secretary

5. Secretary

6. Functions

As a career diplomat, the Foreign Service Officer is required to project India's interests, both at home and abroad on a wide variety of issues. These include bilateral political and economic cooperation, trade and investment promotion, cultural interaction, press and media liaison as well as a whole host of multilateral issues.

The functions of an Indian diplomat may be summarized as:

1. Representing India in its Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates, and Permanent Missions to multilateral organisations like UN

2. Protecting India's national interests in the country of his/her posting;

3. Promoting friendly relations with the receiving state as also its people, including NRI / PIOs;

4. Reporting accurately on developments in the country of posting which are likely to influence the formulation of India 's policies;

5. Negotiating agreements on various issues with the authorities of the receiving state.

6. Extending consular facilities to foreigners and Indian nationals abroad.

At home, Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for all aspects of external relations. Territorial divisions deal with bilateral political and economic work while functional divisions look after policy planning, multilateral organizations, regional groupings, legal matters, disarmament, protocol, consular, Indian Diaspora, press and publicity, administration and other aspects.

Allocation of business to the Ministry of External Affairs

The following elements of work have been allocated to the Ministry of External Affairs under the Transaction of Official Business Rules of the Government of India, as amended from time to time:

1. External affairs.

2. Relations with foreign States and Commonwealth Countries.

3. Indian Council for Cultural Relations

4. All matters affecting foreign diplomatic and consular officers, U.N. officers and its specialised agencies in India.

5. Passports and visas.

6. Extradition of criminals and accused persons from India to foreign and Commonwealth countries and vice versa and general administration of the Extradition Act, 1962 (34 of 1962) and extra-territoriality.

7. Preventive detention in India for reasons of State connected with External and Commonwealth affairs.

8. Repatriation of the nationals of foreign and Commonwealth States from India and deport- ation and repatriation of Indian nationals of foreign and Commonwealth countries to India

9. Immigration to India from the Republic of South Africa or any other country to which the Reciprocity Act, 1943 (9 of 1943) may apply.

10. All Consular functions.

11. Travel arrangements for traders and pilgrims from India to Tibet region of China.

12. Scholarship to foreign students excluding scholarship to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)/ Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) students for study in India under different schemes.

13. Political pensions paid to foreign refugees and descendants of those who rendered services abroad.

14. Ceremonial matters relating to foreign and Commonwealth Visitors and Diplomatic and Consular Representatives.

15. Matters in respect of Pondicherry, Goa, Daman and Diu, involving relations with France and Portugal.

16. Relations with States in special Treaty relations with India such as Bhutan.

17. Himalayan expeditions; permission to foreigners to travel to Protected Areas other than those with which the Ministry of Home Affairs is concerned.

18. United Nations, Specialised Agencies and other International Organisations and Conferences.

19. Indian Foreign Service.

20. Indian Foreign Service Branch ‘B'.

21. Foreign Service Training Institute.

22. External Publicity excluding such publicity concerning overseas Indians' affairs.

23. Political treaties, agreements and conventions with foreign and Commonwealth countries.

24. (i) Pilgrimages to places outside India, including the administration of the Haj Committee Act, 1959 (51 of 1959) and the rules made there under and the Indian Pilgrim Ship Rules, 1933, and Pilgrim parties from India to Shrines in Pakistan and vice versa.

(ii) Protection and preservation of Non-Muslim shrines in Pakistan and Muslim shrines in India in terms of Pant-Mirza Agreement of 1955.

25. Abducted Persons (Recovery and Restoration).

26. Questions relating to minority communities in neighbouring Countries.

27. Recovery of advances granted to the evacuees from Burma, Malaya, etc., during the years 1942-47 and residual work relating to refugees given asylum in India during WorldWar II.

28. Notification regarding commencement or cessation of a state of war.

29. Foreign Jurisdiction.

30. Hospitality Grant of the Government of India.

31. Demarcation of the land frontiers of India.

32. Border raids and incidents on the land borders of India.

33. Diplomatic flight clearances for non-scheduled chartered flights of foreign, civil and military aircraft transiting India.

34. Matters relating to Law of the Sea, including the Indian Territorial Waters, Contiguous Zone, Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), questions ofinternational law arising on the high seas including fishery rights; piracies and crimes committed on the High Seas or in the air; offences against the Law of Sovereign States committed on land or the High seas or in the air; legal matters concerning the International Seabed Area and Authority

35. Economic and technical assistance given by India to the Government of Nepal under the Colombo Plan for Co-operative Economic Development.

36 .Purchase, inspection and shipment of Stores from abroad for the Central Government other than those the purchase, inspection and shipment of which are delegated to other authorities by a general or special order.

37. All matters relating to grant of loans and credits to Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

38. Technical assistance given by India to African countries under the Special Common wealth African Assistance Plan Programme.

39. Human Rights:

(i)Interaction with Human Rights Organisations abroad;

(ii)International declarations, treaties, conventions and conferences; references received from the United Nations and other specialised agencies and organisations thereof;

(iii)Implementation of reporting obligations, in coordination with the concerned Ministries, required under the United Nations and international conventions, to which India is a State party.

Note:- These functions are exercised by the Ministry of External Affairs in close coordina- tion with the Ministry of Home Affairs, which shall be the nodal Ministry for policy and for coordination of all matters relating to Human Rights.

40. Indian Council of World Affairs.


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