MEA wants IRS officers to monitor aid projects abroad

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - 11:04

New Delhi: The Ministry of External
Affairs (MEA) has requested the Finance Ministry to depute a
contingent of meritorious revenue service officials to monitor
India`s aid projects to various countries worth thousands of
crores of rupees.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has written a letter to
Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra in this regard seeking
deputation of officers of Income Tax and Customs for the
purpose.

Official sources said a panel of almost a dozen bright
officials from both the Income Tax and Customs department will
be dispatched soon to the MEA which has taken the step keeping
in mind "the increasing importance of economic diplomacy" in
India`s foreign policy.

Rao, in her letter written last month, has said with
the fresh induction of such revenue officials, her ministry
would have a "greater degree of economic and financial
expertise at the policy-making level within MEA".

"With the increasing importance of economic diplomacy
in the overall foreign policy framework of India, there is a
requirement to instill a greater degree of economic and
financial expertise at the policy-making level within MEA.

This requirement is felt particularly in the two specialised
economic divisions of the ministry.... Investment and
Technology Promotion Division and the Multi-lateral Economic
Relations Division," she said in her letter.

Rao has also underlined India`s commitments worth
thousand of crores of rupees in support of development
projects in neighbouring countries and other nations and the
requirement of such officials for effective implementation of
these projects.

"A number of territorial divisions in MEA are engaged
in supervision of bilateral aid projects in countries of
diplomatic importance to us. Our commitments in these
projects, which are being undertaken not only in neighbouring
countries but also through grant or Credit support in African
nations, runs to thousands of crores of rupees.

"To oversee the implementation of these projects, we
require officers (Income Tax and Customs) with aptitude and
experience in monitoring financial transactions, overseeing
budgetary impacts and with a general comfort with financial
concepts," she wrote.

A batch of Income Tax (Indian Revenue Service)
officers is at present deputed in Afghanistan to train tax
officials and impart other taxation aspects to revenue
officials in that country.

The MEA has sought officers of the level of Deputy
Secretary and Under Secretary for deputation.

Rao has also expressed her Ministry`s willingness to
induct "several officers" for a deputation period of two to
three years in the MEA.

"This would not only help MEA acquire specialised
knowledge and expertise, but the exposure would also prove
useful for the professional development of the officers
concerned," Rao`s letter added.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - 11:04

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