KATHMANDU: The government is mulling a separate Foreign Service Act, with the provision that the Foreign Secretary — the highest post of diplomatic career — will be appointed only from Foreign Service cadres.
Even if recent foreign secretaries were picked from among the Foreign Service cadres, the existing law does not ensure the coveted post for only career diplomats.
“Homework is under way to bring a separate Foreign Service Act,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha told THT. “It will not only make diplomatic service a specialised area, but also ensures that a career diplomat will reach that top position.”
In Nepal, the concept of Foreign Service began in the early 1980s — initially as a separate group and later as a separate section of Civil Service within the umbrella of Civil Service Act. But, it still lacks a separate Act to handle and guide the country’s Foreign Service administration and diplomacy.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) — that deals with all issues beyond the national border — has prepared a preliminary draft of the Act. The document, however, needs to go through the necessary proceedings from the Ministry of Law and Justice (MoLJ) prior to its promulgation through either ordinance by the President or passage through the new Parliament.
Currently, as per the Civil Service Act, diplomatic service is considered only up to the Joint-Secretary level and Foreign Secretary can be named from any other Special Class officers of the Civil Service of Nepal.
“In the absence of legal assurances, senior joint-secretaries at the Foreign Ministry are kept in suspense as to whether they will be promoted as new Foreign Secretary or will be transferred to other government offices,” said a former Foreign Secretary.
Shrestha said it was urgent to bring a separate Foreign Service Act, referring the international context and Nepal’s Parliament Service.
Discussions have arisen in other service groups under the purview of Civil Service Act such as Education, Legal; Health etc to bring separate Acts to deal with their respective services.