External Affairs Minister Jaishankar said 429 interns had worked with the ministry over the past five years

As many as 429 interns have worked in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) over the past five years, the government announced to the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, responding to a query, said while 372 interns had worked at MEA headquarters between 2017 and 2021, 57 were posted to Indian missions abroad.

“The Department of External Affairs has been engaging interns for a decade, reflecting an intention to broaden the foreign policy discourse in the country and tap into talent beyond government,” he said.

Jaishankar said MEA started implementing an internship program in August 2011.

“Based on the initial experience, an internship policy was formulated in 2016. All internships offered by the ministry and its overseas missions and posts for the period 2016-2020 were guided by this policy and were unpaid,” he said.

Jaishankar said a second comprehensive review was undertaken in 2021 to ensure more diverse and inclusive participation in internships.

“Accordingly, the ministry issued the Internship Policy, 2021, in March 2021. The application and selection process was fully online and logistical and the basic costs of the interns were provided by the government,” a- he declared.

A pilot program was conducted to test the effectiveness of the new policy.

“In January 2022, based on further improvements, the MEA Internship Policy, 2022 was released which offers 75 internships for a period of one to three months,” he said.

Shirlene J. Manley