A parliamentary panel headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has expressed concern over the degeneration of the quality of the recruitment process of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and stressed on the fact that only the best are selected.
In its report tabled in the parliament, the standing committee said that the committee is concerned at the deterioration in the quality of recruits to the elite service. This is happening at a time when the interest of students in civil service examination has increased tremendously.
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It is a matter of great surprise that even the low ranked candidates are entering into the civil services unlike in the past when only those obtaining the highest ranks in the civil services exam were taken into IFS. This development is both, reason and symptom for the degeneration of prestige in the IFS, the panel said.
Prominent members of the committee are
- Sugata Bose (Trinamool Congress),
- Mohammad Salim (CPI-M),
- Supriya Sule (NCP)
- Karan Singh ( Congress)
- Rahul Gandhi (Congress),
- and Swapan Dasgupta (Nominated).
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In recent years, the charm of IFS has minimised with more opportunities for foreign travel. Even the External Affairs Ministry has acknowledged that people in the top 10 may not necessarily choose IFS, the panel said further.
The 31 members committee observed that in the overall Civil Service Examination merit list, the IFS toppers in 2014 and 2015 were ranked 24th and 14th respectively.
The other recommendations of the committee:
- Urgent steps ought to be initiated
- Make the IFS more attractive and remunerative
- It should be a good career choice for civil service aspirants
- The ministry must take immediate notice of the low strength of IFS cadre
- Find out the total diplomatic corps
- Initiate remedial measures at the earliest
- The officers should receive mid-career training
- Based on the educational background of the selected candidates they should develop expertise in specific fields
The panel also said that the sanctioned strength of 912 IFS officers is one of the smallest among all-India and central services.