NEW DELHI – 110 001, June 20, 1991





          The Chief Secretaries of

          all State Governments and Union Territories.


Subject:       Consolidated Instructions relating to Foreign Assignment of Indian Experts.





I am directed to say that in supersession of this Department’s earlier instructions contained in letter No.1/10/87-FA(UN), dated the 29th of January, 1988, and all other letters on the subject, the following revised and comprehensive instructions will be operative from the date of issue.




Deputation of Indian Experts on assignments abroad will be classified into the following categories :


(a)              Foreign posts of the Government of India (GOI) under the various Ministries of the Government.


(b)             Bilateral assignments to the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.


(c)             Captive posts of GOI in the international organisations where recruitment is limited to the Indian officials.


(d)             International assignment to the UN and its agencies, other multinational organisations, the Governments and public institutes in the oil-rich and developed countries.





These include the posts in the Indian Missions abroad under the administrative control of the Ministries of Finance, Commerce etc. (other than the Ministry of External Affairs), the overseas offices of the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Civil Aviation and other Ministries, the India Investment Centres and other similar public bodies.


3.1          Selection for these posts will be made through the Civil Services Board (CSB) according to the procedure prescribed for appointment under the Central Staffing Scheme of GOI.  In order to ensure equality of opportunity and fairness in the selection procedure.


3.2     The officers appointed to the posts would be allowed a tenure of 3 years (and this period will not count towards the ceiling prescribed for assignments under the international organisations).




These cover assignments under the ITEC (Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation) and other similar programmes and contract appointments in the Governments and para-statal organisations in the developing countries of Asia, Pacific, Africa and Latin America and remunerated by the concerned developing countries (as distinguished from the oil-rich and developed nations) according to their salary scales.


4.1     As far as possible, all organized recruitment of experts at graduate professional level and above for bilateral assignments should be on a Government-to-Government basis.  In addition, individual officials may also secure such assignments by making applications in response to open advertisements by the Governments and para-statal organisations of the developing countries following the prescribed procedure; sometimes direct offers may also be received from these organisations by experts in recognition of their past work in the relevant areas.


4.2          Selection for assignments under the ITEC programme would be made as per the scheme being operated by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Department of Personnel & Training.  For these and other bilateral assignments on a Government-to-Government basis, the panel of experts maintained in the Department of Personnel & Training will be utilized for making selections.  In addition, if necessary, suitable experts could be located in consultation with the relevant nodal Ministries and the State Governments.




These assignments include the posts of Executive Directors in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) etc., Advisers and Technical or Executive Assistants to the Executive Directors and other similar posts where recruitment is restricted to the Indian experts.


5.1          Selection for these posts would be made according to the procedure prescribed for appointments under the Central Staffing Scheme of GOI.  However, the tenure of these officials in the international organisations will be subject to the provisions relating to the ceiling on tenure, cooling off requirement etc. prescribed (in subsequent paragraphs) for international assignments.




This category covers the assignments under the international organisations like the UN and its specialised agencies, the World Bank, IMF, ADB and the Commonwealth Secretariat including the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC) and other multinational public institutions.  Included in this category are also assignments to the Governments, para-statal organisations and public institutions like Universities, Research and Academic Institutes in the oil-rich and developed countries.


6.1     The details concerning the selection procedure and terms relating to appointments including ceiling on tenure, cooling off requirement etc. in respect of international assignments have been outlined in the paragraphs that follow.  Whenever some of these terms are also applicable to other categories of foreign assignments, this has been indicated at the appropriate place.




International assignments may be categorised by location and duration.  As far as location is concerned (i) there are posts at the Secretariat or headquarters of an international organization which are subject to the country-quota restrictions.  These may include key positions or posts of critical importance, which the Government would like its official nominees to hold.  In case of a specific vacancy, the Government would field the most suitable candidate who in their view has a good chance of being finally selected for the post.  (ii)  Most international assignments are, however, project-related field jobs, operated in the developing countries under the auspices of the international organisations.  These are professional jobs and final selection is usually made by the host country government in consultation with the international agency.  There is no quota system governing these assignments, but the candidates are screened at various stages and selections are made on the basis of their professional qualifications and experience.  The Government would, therefore, encourage the experts in various fields to apply for and secure these jobs by adopting a liberal approach.


7.1     From the point of view of duration, the assignments can be classified as (a) long-term jobs which are more than three months (90 days) in duration, and (b) short term consultancies with duration of three months (90 days) or less. 




The primary criteria for permitting a government employee to undertake an assignment would be the convenience of the Government in sparing him from the point of view of the management of the service cadre to which he belongs and exigency of public service.


8.1          Subject to this overall condition, the Government and public sector employees may secure international and bilateral assignments through any of the following methods :-


(i)                nomination by the Government;


(ii)              direct offer from an international organization/ foreign Government due to past work;


(iii)            application made in response to open advertisement following the prescribed procedure; and


(iv)           by being picked up from the roster of an international organization.


8.2     The Department of Personnel & Training, the cadre controlling authority of various service cadres and the nodal Ministries for the international organisations will deal with various aspects relating to the nomination, selection and appointment of the government employees to posts under the international agencies and foreign Governments.  Each international agency is dealt with by a nodal Ministry;  for instance the Ministry of Labour looks after the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Ministry of Health liaises with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the like.


8.3          Nomination by the Government:  The Government may nominate suitable and qualified officers for posts under the international organisations or foreign Governments under any of the following circumstances:-


(a)              Vacancy notices or requests are received by the Governments (nodal Ministries and/ or the Deptt. of Personnel & Training);


(b)             Information regarding the possible vacancies and the details of the posts are made available by the Indian Missions abroad, individual officers and other sources including open advertisements and the Government decides to field candidates; and


(c)             The nodal Ministry/ the Department of Personnel & Training identifies key or important posts in the international organisations with a view to making nominations.



8.4     It would not be necessary for the Government to make nominations in respect of all the posts for which information or vacancy notices are received from time to time.  The nodal Ministry/ the Department of Personnel & Training may decide the specific vacancy(ies) for which the Government would nominate its officers keeping in view the nature and importance of the post(s), the expertise available in the country and other related considerations.  However, when an officer is nominated for a specific international assignment, he would be treated as the “official nominee” and the Government may use its available sources, including the diplomatic channel, for canvassing support for his candidature.


8.5          Broad-based selection procedures would be adopted for identifying the best and most suitable candidates(s) for nomination.  When a nodal Ministry receives a vacancy notice or details of the posts for which it is decided to nominate Indian experts, it would expeditiously circulate the same to all the relevant Departments and agencies of GOI and the State Governments inviting suitable nominations.  A copy of the vacancy circular or notice containing the details of the post should also be endorsed to the Department of Personnel & Training (Foreign Assignment Section), which may suggest candidates from out of the panel of experts maintained by it and/ or from among the members of the organized services under its administrative control including those on Central deputation.


8.6     The nodal Ministries will finalise the nominations for (i) the posts upto and including P.4 level in the Secretariat or headquarters of an international organization, and (ii)  upto and including P-5 level in the project-related field jobs.  In its task, the nodal Ministry will be assisted by a Foreign Assignment Selection Committee (FASC) which would screen the applications received and suggest a name or a panel of names.  The FASC in each nodal Ministry will include, among others, the representative of the Ministry and the Establishment Officer to the GOI  or his representative.  The nodal Ministry will obtain cadre clearance from the concerned cadre controlling authorities before forwarding the name(s) to the international agency.  The clearance of the Establishment Officer to the GOI would also be required if the officer concerned is working in a post under the Central Staffing Scheme. 


8.7          Applications or nominations in respect of the (a) posts of P-5 level and above in the Secretariat of an international organization, and (b) all other posts above the P-5 level should be forwarded by the nodal Ministry concerned to the Deptt. of  Personnel & Training (Office of the Establishment Officer) which would screen the applications and submit these to the Civil Services Board (CSB)/ Cabinet Secretary for final selection.  Thereafter, the nominations would be sent to the concerned international organization.


8.8     Apart from the nodal Ministries, the Department of Personnel & Training may, when the time available for making nominations to an international agency is short, or in other special circumstances, obtain applications/ nominations from the concerned agencies in the Central and State Governments and make appropriate recommendations with the approval of the competent authorities.


8.9     The Government may nominate an officer or a panel of names for a vacancy in an international organization depending on the circumstances of each case.  However, in respect of the vacancies identified as (a) key or important posts and (b) the posts considered to be of critical importance, the Government would nominate the best candidate available (as he has to compete with the nationals of other countries) rather than a panel of names.  Since the objective is to secure the key international assignments for the Indian Experts, all qualified officers including those who have been on foreign assignment earlier would be considered for nomination, subject, however, to the condition that those who have completed the maximum period (ceiling) prescribed for international assignment would be required to resign/ seek retirement from Government Service on selection for the assignment.


8.10          Direct offers:  In case of an offer of assignment by an international agency or friendly foreign government directly to a Government employee due to his past work or expertise, the expert has to take cadre clearance from the cadre controlling authority as well as from the Department of Personnel & Training before accepting the offer.


8.11          Application against Open Advertisement:  The Government employees may apply in response to the open or public advertisement of vacancies by the international organisations and foreign Governments with the prior permission of the cadre controlling authorities concerned.  In rare cases, when the time available for submitting the application is short an officer may send his application to the concerned agency in advance with a copy to his cadre controlling authority and this may be confirmed or withdrawn subsequently depending on the decision of the authority.  The cadre controlling authorities would consider each case only from the point of view of whether the officer could be spared or not; no other general considerations should be applied in taking a decision in the case.  An officer may be permitted to apply in response to a public advertisement even if he has completed the permitted number of years he can spend on international assignments in his career.  However, in such a case, he would have to resign or take retirement  from Government service on selection.  A Government employee applying for an international assignment in response to public advertisement will not be given the status of “official nominee” for the assignment.  Correspondence relating to the grant or denial of permission will be between the officer concerned and the cadre controlling authority/ Government and the matter will not correspond with the international organization on the subject.




The Government employees may register their names in the rosters maintained by the international organisations by sending their applications directly  to the concerned international agency, keeping their cadre controlling authorities and the relevant nodal Ministries informed.  Cadre clearance would be sought when the international agency checks on the availability of the officer for a specific assignment.  To cut down on the response time in respect of the vacancies circulated by the international organisations, the nodal Ministries may also maintain panels of experts.




The Department of Personnel & Training maintains two data banks of Indian experts comprising (i) the panel for bilateral assignments including those under the ITEC and similar programmes, and (ii) the list of experts in various disciplines interested in international assignments.  Applications for registration in the panel for bilateral assignments are invited from Indian nationals both in Government and outside in a prescribed form which is available for sale in the sales depots of the Publication Division of the Government of India.  The applications received are processed and the data stored in a computer.  The experts are registered in order of seniority based on the date of receipt of the valid application forms in the Department of Personnel & Training and nominations are made strictly in order of seniority and suitability.  The registration remains valid for a period of 3 years.  Applications for registration should invariably be forwarded through proper channel and the forwarding authorities should clearly recommend the applications for registration.  This would mean that upon selection the employer would relieve the experts concerned for taking up the assignment.


8.14   For registering experts for international assignments, applications are invited in the prescribed forms available in the Department of Personnel & Training from Government employees and executives of the public sector enterprises and other government and semi-government organisations.  These applications are to be forwarded with a clear recommendation by the concerned employers.  Valid applications are registered under various categories of specialization to which applicants belong.  When a request for assignment is received, experts registered under the relevant fields are recommended according to their seniority of registration and also on the basis of their suitability for the specific job.




An officer may be permitted to remain on long-term assignments adding upto a maximum of five years during the first twenty-five years of his service.  Beyond 25 years of service, there would be no ceiling.  However, at that stage when an officer completes two years (24 months) of long term assignment undertaken either in one spell or in instalments, he would not be considered for empanelment for posts of Joint Secretary and equivalent under the Central Staffing Scheme for a period of two years upon his return from the assignment; in the case of an officer eligible to be empanelled as Additional Secretary/ Secretary or equivalent the corresponding period would be one year.  If however, an officer is on a long-term assignment at the time of completing 25 years of service, he has to undergo the required cooling off period (two years) at the end of that assignment and only thereafter he will be eligible to take up another long term assignment which  will be exempted from the ceiling prescribed for such assignments.


9.1     The provisions relating to the ceiling on deputation  of  assignment would be applicable to international assignments and the captive posts of GOI in the international organisations but not to the foreign post of GOI, bilateral assignments to the developing countries and the UN volunteers.


9.2     Over and above the five year ceiling mentioned above an officer may be allowed to undertake short-term consultancies for an international organization or foreign Government upto a maximum of twenty five (25) months during his entire career.  None of these assignments would exceed three months (90 days) during a calender year, provided further that the administrative Department/  Ministry under which he is working is in a position to spare his services without any substitute being posted in his place.




An officer returning from a foreign assignment exceeding 180 days would not be eligible to go for a long-term assignment for a period of two years.




The United Nations and its specialized agencies as well as other international organisations generally indicate the salary level of the post at the time of an announcement of the vacancy.  It has been decided that for the posts in the Secretariat of an international organization, some correspondence between the ranks of the officers of the Government with the salary levels in the international agency would be ensured at the time of making nominations.  For the project-related field assignments, however, such correspondence would not be insisted upon as the levels for these assignments are usually flexible and the salary and other terms are negotiable depending on the experience and seniority of the officer/expert.  In order to guide the Ministries and Departments of the GOI in this area various criteria have been indicated in the ANNEX which would be observed while determining the categories of officers to be considered for different levels of posts in the Secretariat of the UN, its specialized Agencies and other international organisations.




The officers in a nodal Ministry of GOI/ office of a head of Department/ Attached and Subordinate offices of the Government / Indian Missions abroad who are directly dealing with an international organization in a coordinating or nodal capacity shall not be allowed to take up assignments in the Secretariat of the concerned organization for a period of two years after they have relinquished charge of their posts.  At the same time, however, in very exceptional cases where a post at the headquarters/ secretariat of an international agency is considered to be a key post or a post of critical importance and the Government feels that a particular officer though dealing with the organization, is the most suitable and qualified and is likely to be accepted, the officer may be nominated for the post with the recommendation of the Civil Services Board (CSB)/ Cabinet Secretary and approval of the Prime Minister.  Those assignments would typically include very high level posts in the international organisations, some of which are primarily filled through election or on considerations of regional representation on very high level of expertise.


 12.1  The Government policy has always been that its officers should not lobby for international assignments.  Serious view would be taken and appropriate action initiated against the officers and members of the official Indian delegations to international conference, who indulge in canvassing or lobbying for posts in the international organisations with which they have official dealings.




In all cases of foreign assignments, cadre clearance from the cadre controlling authority is to be obtained before an officer proceeds on the assignment.  For the officers working in the posts under the Central Staffing Scheme, clearance of the Department of Personnel & Training (Establishment Officer to GOI) would also be required.  The sole criterion for giving them clearance would be whether the officer under consideration can be spared from the point of view of management of the cadre or of exigencies of public service, subject, of course, to the provisions regarding ceiling on duration of foreign assignments, cooling off requirements etc. laid down in this letter.  No other general consideration (like the period of an officer’s absence from the cadre etc.) would be relevant to giving such clearance.


13.1   In cases where the Government nominates an officer for a specific vacancy, cadre clearance should be given at the time of nomination.  In all other cases, this will be obtained when a communication is received from the international organization/ foreign Government that the officer concerned is being considered for appointment or that a tentative decision has been taken to make him an offer of appointment.


13.2   In respect of the employees working under the State Governments or their undertakings, the State Governments are empowered to decide whether to permit the expert to accept a foreign assignment or not.  Matters such as retention of lien and protection of seniority in service will also be decided  by them in accordance with the service rules applicable to these experts.




In the preceding paragraphs, the responsibilities of the various nodal Ministries, the cadre controlling authorities and the Department of Personnel & Training have been outlined.  The cadre controlling authorities of the various services of the Government of India and the State Governments will mainly be responsible to ensure that the officers under their control apply for and secure foreign assignments strictly according to these guidelines.  They will maintain data relating to the periods spent by these officers on foreign assignments and enforce the provisions relating to the ceiling prescribed for such assignments, cooling off requirements etc.


14.1   While the cadre controlling authorities and the nodal Ministries and Departments are competent to give various clearances as per these guidelines, any deviation proposed to be made therefrom would require prior consultation and clearance from the Department of Personnel & Training.


14.2   If a nodal or  administrative Ministry/ Department is of the view that any category of expertise should be declared as “scarce” by the Government of India so as not to permit an easy exit of the Indian experts in that field for foreign assignment, it should send suitable proposals to the Department of Personnel & Training would issue appropriate orders in this regard.  When an Indian expert proposes to take up assignment abroad in any of the categories declared as “scarce”, he would have to obtain a “No Objection Certificate” from the relevant administrative Ministry of the Government of India before taking up the assignment.


14.3   The persons deputed to the UN agencies and other international organisations or those on bilateral assignments may resign from service without returning to India and to their parent department if they choose to continue on foreign assignment beyond the permissible period.  The Government personnel deputed on ITEC assignment cannot resign while serving abroad as the Government of India in the Ministry of External Affairs bears the salary and other expenses of such persons.


14.4        No person who –


(i)                is on assignment under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme of the Ministry of External Affairs and other Aid Programmes;


(ii)              is posted abroad in a foreign based office of a Ministry/ Department;


(iii)            goes on a specific contract assignment to a foreign government.


Should be allowed to retire voluntarily unless, after having been transferred to India, he has resumed the charge of the post in India and served for a period of not less than one year.  This restriction will, however, not be applicable in case of officers who are on deputation to the UN/International organisations.


14.5   Since deputation of Indian officials abroad contributes to mutual goodwill and understanding between India and the foreign country concerned, it would be largely in the public interest, if,  as  a rule, the lien of Government employee and public sector employee selected for a foreign assignment is retained. 


14.6   The State Government are advised that their employees may be released for service abroad on foreign service terms in the public interest, after retaining the applicant’s lien and protecting his seniority.  However, the State Government may allow their employees to go abroad in accordance with the rules which are in force and applicable to the employees.


14.7   This order will take effect from the date of issue.  All those who are on foreign assignment at present shall be governed by the provisions of this order in respect of the proposals for extension of their tenure of deputation etc.


14.8   All questions or doubts relating to interpretation of the instructions will be decided by the Department of Personnel & Training.


14.9        Hindi version of this letter will follow.









Copy for information and guidance to:-


1.       All Ministries/ Departments of  Government of India with the request that contents of the letter may be brought to the notice of all attached / subordinate/ public sector undertakings under their administrative control.


2.          Comptroller and Auditor General of India, New Delhi.


3.          Controller General of  Defence Accounts.

4.          Secretary, Union Public Service Commission.


5.          Secretary,  Lok Sabha Sectt., New Delhi.


6.          Secretary,  Rajya Sabha Sectt., New Delhi.


7.       Vice-Chancellor of Universities/ Indian Institute of Technology.


8.          Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mayur Bhavan, New Delhi.


9.       Prime Minister’s Office.


10.     Copy forwarded to all attached and subordinate offices of Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.


11.     Copy to:  All officers of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions and all Sections of the Department of Personnel and Training.











Note 1:        The following correspondence between the level of posts in an international organisations and the level of Indian officers is relevant only as far as the posts at the Secretariat of an international organization are concerned.  No correspondence is prescribed for field jobs on projects etc.


Note 2:        Officers may be permitted to take up assignments which are one level above or below the level prescribed.


Level of the post/salary scale of Indian experts eligible


D 2              More than 17 years of IAS or equivalent service without any upper limit.  Technical and other D1 officers who could be equated with Joint Secretaries or above to the Government of India; in other cases officers drawing more than Rs.5900-6700/-


P 5              Officers between 14 and 17 years of IAS or equivalent service.  Technical and other officers who could be equated with Directors in the Government of India.  In other cases officers drawing Rs.4500 to 5700/-.


P 4              Officers between 9 to 14 years of IAS or equivalent service.  Technical and other officers who could be equated with Deputy Secretaries to the Govt. of India.  In other cases officers drawing between Rs.3700 to 5000/-


P 3              Officers between 6 to 9 years of IAS or equivalent service.  Technical and other officers who may be equated with Under Secretaries to the Govt. of India.  In other cases officers drawing pay between Rs.3000 to 4500/-.


P 2              Officers between 4 to 6 years of IAS or equivalent service.  Technical and other officers who may be equated with Junior Under Secretaries to the Govt. of India.  In other cases drawing upto Rs.3000/-.


P 1              Officers with upto 3 years of IAS or equivalent service.  Technical and other officers who may be equated with attaches/ registrars, Section Officers.