How to be ASO in MEA?

5 minute read

MEA or Ministry of External Affairs is a part of the Indian administration that is responsible for maintaining relations and communication with other countries. The Staff Selection Commission offers young candidates a great opportunity to work with the central government’s top organizations. One of the top positions under SSC CGL is assistant section officer or ASO in MEA. SSC conducts the Combined Graduate Level (CGL) which is one of the ways to kickstart your career as an ASO in MEA. Here we have provided complete details in the below article that will cover ASO in Ministry of External Affairs eligibility, job profile, pay scale and more! 

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Eligibility Criteria for ASO in MEA 2022

SSC conducts the CGL examination for the recruitment of various Group “B” and Group “C” officer level posts in central level ministries and departments. Here are the eligibility criteria for ASO in MEA: 

Age Limit 20 – 30 Years

Name of the Post Classification of the Post
Assistant Section Officer (ASO)  in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Group “B” 

Upper Age Limit Relaxation 

Permissible relaxation is the upper age limit, as well as category-codes for claiming age relaxation as on the date of reckoning, is as follows: 

Category Age Relaxation
OBC  3 years
SC/ST  5 years
PwDe + Gen 10 years
PwD + OBC 13 years
PwD + SC/ST 15 years
Ex-servicemen 3 years after deduction of the military service
rendered from the actual age as on the closing date

Educational Qualification and Nationality 

Enlisted below are the essential qualification details according to the post of ASO in MEA: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognized university or equivalent
  • A candidate must be either; 
    • a citizen of India, or
    • a subject of Nepal, or
    • a subject of Bhutan, or
    • a Tibetan refugee who came over to India, before the 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
    • a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania (Formerly Tanganyika and Zanzibar), Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

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Salary Structure of Assistant Section Officer 

The pay scale of an ASO in MEA ranges from INR 44,900 to INR 14,2400 with grade pay of INR 4600 in addition to permissible allowances by the Central Govt. as per the 7th pay commission, the ASO in MEA would get a salary of around INR 66,000/- pm initially. Let’s take a look below: 

Pay Level Level 7
Pay Scale INR 44,900 – INR 1,42,400
Grade Pay 4600
Basic Pay INR 44,900
HRA 10,776
DA (Current 17%) 7,633
Travel Allowance Cities – 3600; Other Places – 1800
Gross Salary Range (approx) 66,909

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Job Profile & Training Details of ASO in MEA 

The Assistant Section Officer (ASO) plays a major role in maintaining the workflow of the department. They have important work responsibilities and they revolve around Indian diplomacy. Here are some of the work responsibilities of ASO in MEA: 

  • Assistant IFS officers in day-to-day work
  • Noting, drafting and communication with the head office
  • Plan and examine the international documents
  • Coordinate between various offices as well as headquarters at the home nation
  • To promote friendly relations between the state and its people

Following are the training details of ASO in MEA:

  • At the time of joining, there will be no immediate training. However, to get a foreign posting, you have to undergo 30 days of training as well as a foreign language test. 
  • The foreign language proficiency test is mandatory to get the foreign posting
  • Training is hectic with a lot to learn in a brief period of time for effective working
  • Training takes place at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), JNU, New Delhi

ASO in Ministry of External Affairs Job Posting/Location

Outside India, the below locations are given to ASO in MEA, which is further divided into 5 categories – A+, A, B, C and Hard C: 

Country Category Posting Locations
A+ New York, Toronto, Washington DC, Wellington, Geneva
A London, Paris, Madrid, Mexico City, Tokyo
B Chicago, Warshaw, Zurich, Sydney
C Thimphu, Kuwait, Bangkok
Hard C Kabul, Damascus, Kandahar

Promotion Policy for ASO in MEA

As an ASO in Ministry of External Affairs, you will have the following career path: 


Deputy Secretary

Under Secretary

Section Officer

Assistant Section Officer (ASO)

The first promotion from Assistant Section Officer (ASO) to section officers takes around 4 – 5 years after clearing departmental exams. Otherwise, it may take around 10 – 14 years to get promoted on a seniority basis. 

Credit: RBE Revolution by Education

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What is the work of ASO in MEO?

The Assistant Section Officer (ASO) at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has the following major responsibilities:
To support the IFS officials in their day-to-day work.
To work on files, take notes, create documents, and communicate with the Indian headquarters.
To plan and review papers that will be signed between countries.

Is ASO in MEA a gazetted officer?

Assistant Section Officer (Central Secretariat Service): This is a non-gazetted Group B position in the Central Secretariat Service. This is a desk job as well, with an ASO often assigned to various ministries in Delhi.

Which post is best in SSC CGL?

The best posts under the SSC CGL exam are:
Income Tax Inspector
Assistant Section Officer
Central Excise Inspector
Assistant Audit Officer
Public Finance
Assistant Enforcement Officer

Can I become IAS through SSC CGL?

SSC CGL is one of the greatest ways for such people to become IAS comparable officers. After deputation as an Assistant Section Officer, it might take many years. However, it is recommended that you prepare for the SSC CGL test in addition to the IAS exam.

How do I become an ASO in Ministry of External Affairs?

Candidates between the ages of 20 and 30 are eligible to apply for the position of ASO at the Ministry of External Affairs. Candidates must have completed a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline and passed the CGL Exam.

Working as an Assistant Section Officer or ASO in Ministry of External Affairs (ASO in MEA) can be a great opportunity where you will get a prestigious government job with a good pay scale along with perquisites and other benefits. We hope you find our blog useful on how to be an Assistant Section Officer in the Ministry of External Affairs. Looking forward to government jobs? Take up the expert guidance of Leverage Edu and call us on 1800572000 for the FREE session today! 

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