In one of the biggest administrative reforms since Independence, the government has decided to restructure the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Official sources told IANS that the MEA will get decentralised by setting up several verticals, specialisation-wise. This will enable separation of consular services and other routine administrative affairs from the diplomacy involved in areas like economics, trade, development, technology, cultural exchange etc.
Each vertical is to be headed by a 'political director' at Additional Secretary level, sources said. Until now, like all other ministries, the MEA has been a pyramid-like structure, with lot of work pressure on Joint Secretaries and the four Secretaries.
On Thursday, the restructuring began with handing over all the four development partnership divisions responsible for foreign aid and development projects in South Asia and Africa to Akhilesh Mishra, who was heading the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). The council, which is the cultural arm of MEA, will be under Dinesh Patnaik.
The economic section will be handled by P. Harish and three divisions of Africa will be under Nagma Mallik.
Similarly, all multilateral meetings and summits will now be handled by Vikram Doraiswami. The ministry also plans to expand and hire experts from the private sector and non-profit bodies as well.