NEW DELHI: After keeping an age bar for joining the Union Cabinet, the Narendra Modi government is now coming up with a policy that would restrict senior bureaucrats beyond 55 years of age from foreign deputation postings. No foreign deputation will be given to these officials. The government feels that it does not add any value to the country.
The development came in the wake of an instance of a top bureaucrat, who has been on foreign posting for over 10 years and was again seeking extension.
While rejecting the officer’s application, Prime Minister Modi has also directed his office to draft a policy to this effect. Modi feels that an officer’s experience in the last leg of his career of foreign stint will not benefit the country.
Several senior babus have enjoyed long and extended foreign postings.
“After 55 years, foreign posting’s experience will not add any value to the country. By the time, the officer comes back to India after completing tenure, he/she would be approaching retirement. Government does not gain from their experience during foreign posting,” said an officer from the PMO, who is involving in the policy-making.
Top officials of the rank of additional secretary and secretary will be covered under the new rule.
The government feels that bureaucrats generally go for deputation postings abroad which include the United Nations bodies, international financial institutions like World Bank, multilateral organisations of which India is a member like International Atomic Energy Agency, and bilateral bodies set up under the Vienna Convention.
Recently, the Modi government set a cap of ‘four’ foreign visits for an officer in a year, and also sought “justification” for the visit of each member in a delegation—and why a “video-conferencing facility” cannot be utilised for interacting with foreign counterparts?
Earlier, the UPA government had fixed the period of foreign deputation at seven years, after various instances of officers’ overstaying on international assignment or deputation abroad. In fact, the government has also put monetary penalty on several bureaucrats for overstaying on foreign postings without required permission.