EXPRESSING CONCERN over “deterioration” in the quality of recruits to Indian Foreign Service (IFS), a parliamentary panel has proposed that the UPSC should introduce an additional paper in civil services examination for candidates who want to join the foreign service so that their knowledge of international affairs and required aptitude can be tested.
In its report tabled in the Lok Sabha, the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs also expressed “grave concern” over “inadequate” size of India’s diplomatic corps, considering the tasks and challenges before the country.
Against a sanctioned strength of 912 there are 770 IFS officers at present, the committee said. The panel is headed by Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP and former MoS in External Affairs.
Stressing the need to have the right people handling India’s diplomatic engagement, the panel said an additional paper should be made mandatory for candidates opting for IFS, and that the scope of personality test should be enhanced considering the qualities required for a
According to the committee, while conducting personality test the interview board may be asked to indicate whether candidates opting for IFS are recommended for the diplomatic service.
The panel said that unlike in the past, when only those with the highest ranks in civil services exam were taken into IFS, it is a “matter of surprise” that even low-ranked candidates are able to enter the service.
“This development is both a symptom and a reason for the erosion of prestige in the IFS,” said the committee.