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New post push in MEA.

THE ministry of external affairs ( MEA) appears to have edged past strong opposition by the Indian Administrative Service ( IAS)- lobby to create a new post of secretary ( public affairs) in the foreign ministry.

The matter has now been referred to the Department of Personnel and Training ( DoPT) and the finance ministry.

It has also been learnt that the Union Cabinet will discuss creation of the new post in MEA after DoPT and the finance ministry take a view on that. After the proposal hit a roadblock with Cabinet secretary Ajit Seth opposing the idea, external affairs minister S. M. Krishna took the initiative to push the idea, sources said. It is understood that the matter may be put up before the Cabinet soon.

Earlier MEA had mooted a proposal to create the post of secretary ( public affairs) -- a nodal post that will deal with visa matters, Haj issues, matter of publicity and public diplomacy. The rationale was that the secretary ( public affairs) would coordinate between the four divisions within the ministry that currently deal with these matters for efficient public interface. The objective was that the secretary ( public affairs) would ensure smooth functioning of these four key divisions each led by a joint secretary.

The MEA currently has five secretaries -- foreign secretary, secretary ( East), secretary ( West), secretary ( economic relations) and Dean Foreign Service Institute ( Secretary level post).

The Cabinet secretary and the IAS lobby had strong views against creating another secretary level post in the MEA, which according to them will be disproportional in comparison to the other ministries.

Surprisingly, there were voices within the MEA who are also opposed to the proposal.

The ministry was considering Pinak Ranjan Chakraborty for the post. He is currently special secretary ( public diplomacy).

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jul 16, 2012
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