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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Much ado over Walmart but India also lobbies in US

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Washington: , December 11, 2012
First Published: 00:25 IST(11/12/2012) | Last Updated: 00:37 IST(11/12/2012)

The Rajya Sabha was rocked on Monday over reports that global multi-brand chain Walmart disclosed to the US senate that it had spent $25 million ( Rs. 125 crore) since 2008 on lobbying on different issues, including market access in India.

Walmart disclosed that in the last reported quarter, it had spent another $1.65 million ( Rs. 8.75 crore crore) for lobbying in the US Congress and the departments of trade and commerce.

With the BJP, Left parties and SP demanding a probe into whether Walmart was trying to bribe its way into India, the House was adjourned before lunch.

The BJP demanded that implementation of the FDI policy be put on hold till a probe was over. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The disclosure... is official confirmation that Walmart has lobbied in India. Lobbying is banned in India.”

However, lobbying being legitimate in the US, India has spent millions for lobbying the Congress and the US authorities.

The Indian private sector also spends large amounts on lobbying.

Barbour Griffith & Rogers, a lobbyist engaged by the Indian government, spent $180,000 ( Rs. 99 lakh) in the last reported quarter of 2012, lobbying US establishments for "bilateral US-India relationship".

Reacting to the ruckus in Indian Parliament, Bharti Walmart, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Walmart, said, “These allegations are entirely false. In accordance with US law,s American companies are required to disclose the issues and expenditures associated with lobbying on a quarterly basis."

The expenditures are a compilation of expenses associated with staff, association dues, consultants and contributions spent in the US, the company statement said.


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