Action on Walmart lobbying in India to depend on US probe, says Sachin Pilot

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Govt had ordered a probe in Dec 2012 into lobbying activities undertaken by Walmart to enter Indian market. Reuters Govt had ordered a probe in Dec 2012 into lobbying activities undertaken by Walmart to enter Indian market. Reuters
SummaryGovt ordered probe in Dec 2012 into lobbying activities undertaken by Walmart to enter Indian market.

a clear definition of lobbying would help "see good from bad".

"If companies are doing something which is illegal under the garb of lobbying then they must be taken to task, but if someone is doing advocacy and putting things into light, keeping the interests of stakeholders, policymakers in one place, those are different things," Pilot said.

"But that needs to be defined in India. But, first we don't have the framework to define that (lobbying)," the minister added.

The issue of lobbying has caught public attention many times in the recent past, including in the wake of probe into whether Walmart violated rules by indulging in India-specific lobbying activities.

According to lobbying disclosure reports filed by Walmart in the US, it has been lobbying with American lawmakers since 2008 for facilitating its entry into the Indian market.

Lobbying is a legal activity in the US, but all the companies and their registered lobbyists need to file quarterly disclosure reports with the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In its Action Taken Report on Walmart probe, the government had said it would initiate fresh action against Walmart if an ongoing 'foreign corrupt practices' probe by US authorities reveals any violation in India by the retail major.

The government has also said it is "continuously monitoring" developments in the US with regard to such lobbying activities and an ongoing investigation into bribery charges against the company.

Going by the suggestions made by the probe panel, the government said in its ATR that the "Ministry of External Affairs through Embassy of India in Washington is continuously monitoring developments" in these matters.

The developments are being monitored so that "appropriate action could be initiated as and when relevant information becomes available at a future date or the results of any ongoing investigation under USFCPA (US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) reveals commission of any offence under Indian law", the report had said.

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