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External affair assistant - SSC CGL

 

You need to score well in CGL Exam, for foreign posting, you need to pass the respective (country wise) language proficiency test. few vacancies and charm of foreign postings makes MEA the fanciest post in CGL Exam Unlike CSS, posting can be anywhere; from MEA, South Block, Delhi to Passport offices to Special Missions in Bangladesh to the Embassies in USA (as well as Uganda).

Typical its a 5 days job from 9 am to 5.30 pm.

Assistant get official passport (white color), but not the diplomat’s passport (red color). Still, the official passport is different from normal citizen’s passport (blue color).

Requires very good communication and interpersonal skills to flourish and grow in MEA.

There are 162 Indian missions abroad where an Assistant can be asked to serve.

This is one of the most sought-after Assistant Posts in CGL exam, for the chance of getting international postings and serve in Indian missions abroad. Through this post, we have tried to dispel some of the important myths and half-baked truths being circulated on various groups and forums.

 

Job Profile:

1  The main job of an assistant is to assist the IFS officers in their day to day work.

2  Assistants do the file work and noting, drafting and communication with the head office in India.

3    Planning and examination of documents to be signed between the nations.

      Filing and other works related to various MoUs to be signed by ambassadors and ministers.

     Coordinating between various offices of consulates as well from HQ at Home Nation.

6    Promoting friendly relations with the receiving state as also its people, including NRI/PIO.

 

Promotions:

First Promotion from Assistant to Section Officer (SO) takes 4-5 yrs. After clearing departmental exams; otherwise it may take 10-14 yrs. on seniority basis.

After US, the promotions are time based as with the IFS cadre. Most Assistants in MEA gets 3 career promotions and retires from Deputy Director Level or at maximum Director Level.

 

Transfers and Postings:

Assistant in MEA is not strictly a Delhi only job. On need basis, you can be posted to Regional Passport Offices, but usually there is shortage of staff in Delhi, so it happens only on requirement basis. You need to have strong political approach to shift to Regional Passport Office on your own convenience (for home state posting etc.).

For foreign posting, you must choose 5-10 destinations from the list of 60 destinations provided to you by the ministry. However, it would be the ministry who would decide which place to allot to you. You can deny the allotted foreign destination but then such denials don’t go well with your seniors as it causes hassles in the effective functioning. Besides, what’s the point in joining MEA and then denying a foreign posting to live in India the entire life.

And yes, you get to live in a 5-star accommodation in case your stay arrangement by ministry gets delayed. All this at the expense of government.

 

Perks and Privileges: 

In India, all the perks are same as to that of any other Govt. servant in 4600 grade pay. The govt accommodation can be availed at MEA flats in Chanakyapuri and Dwarka. Since most MEA employees goes for a foreign posting every 3 year, the flats are not blocked/occupied for long. However, with every posting you need to shift your entire set up with you.

In foreign postings, you get the best facilities and amenities. You are entitled to get treated in the best hospital in that location, your children go to best American/British International Schools (having fee more that of your entire monthly salary in foreign posting). Fully furnished accommodation is provided which is better than the Govt accommodation provided to any Grp. A service (IAS/IPS/IRS) official in India.

Previously, Assistant’s economy class air tickets used to be upgraded to 1st class free of cost. But, due to govt. austerity measures, now Assistant in MEA is allowed free travel by economy class to the foreign location. Also, an Assistant is allotted entire cargo container for goods, so you can take along your car and other requirements easily.

 

Salary:

While posted in India, it would be the same as that of any 4600 grade pay employee posted in Delhi.

However, while posted abroad, you will get salary in dollars. But, don’t get too excited too soon, the foreign package would be just enough to live an average life there. The foreign salary is calculated on many parameters like cost of living, price index, currency exchange rate etc.

There are no chances of under table money. A few foolish greedy guys tried to make some and here is what happened to them.

  

Myths:

Promotions are slow after reaching SO. First, because only 8-15 Under Secretary are needed every year. Secondly, all the Stenographer cadre and Cypher cadre are merged with Assistant cadre for promotion.

You have to work in different work environments and usually face a lot of communication problems

Many assistants (esp. their families) faces insecurities when posted in non-English speaking nation or when posted in hostile location. Look at the list of India’s Missions and see how many country names you know. You would also be needed to know the foreign nation’s language to survive in daily life tasks.

The Indian food esp. spices, vegetables etc. are a difficult thing to procure, so be ready to change your eating habits (esp. for vegetarians).

Your social life reduces drastically; especially living far from friends and relatives.

You are under a lot of pressure from the seniors, since they are IFS officers from UPSC (the best brains in UPSC comes to IFS), they have a lot of pressure and tactics over you. Also, ministers can make you suffer if you don’t oblige to their orders.