MEA asks diplomats to ensure welfare of domestic staff taken aboard

New Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has asked its diplomats to ensure welfare of domestic staff taken abroad from India and follow the law of the country of posting in the backdrop of increasing complaints of ill treatment by service staff.

Former India's High Commissioner to New Zealand Ravi Thapar and his wife Sharmila
Former India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Ravi Thapar and his wife Sharmila
The circular was issued after the latest incident of a domestic staff complaining of assault by the wife of India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Ravi Thapar, who was recalled last week after the incident.

According to officials, diplomats have been asked to ensure welfare and working conditions of IBDAs (India based domestic assistants) and also to keep the ministry updated on the contract terms of such helps.

The government is taking action regarding complaints against 43 officials of Indian diplomatic missions in 17 countries facing a variety of charges including corruption and dereliction of duty.

“The Ministry takes seriously any complaint that it receives about the performance of its missions and posts abroad. Complaints are dealt with as per established and prescribed procedures,” the MEA Spokesperson had said.

Thapar’s recall also brought in renewed focus on the Devyani Khobragade episode when the former Deputy Consul General of India in New York, was arrested in the US in December 2013 on charges of making false declarations in a visa application for her maid and released on a USD 250,000 bond. She returned in January 2014.

She was stripped of her professional responsibilities last year and put on “compulsory wait” after she gave press interviews where she termed the vigilance inquiry into the dual passport status of her children as not fair. Her children are in possession of both Indian and US passports.

However, Khobragade has been made a Director in the ‘liaison with State Governments’ division in February after the appointment of new Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

Meanwhile, the 1999-batch IFS officer is understood to have met senior officials in the PMO last week regarding her case.

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