Of FDI, Wal-Mart & controversies: An eventful year for retail
The step to let FDI in multi-brand retail didn't go down well with Opposition parties and erstwhile UPA ally Trinamool Congress, which decided to withdraw support from the government over the issue and others, including hike in diesel prices.
The issue stalled proceedings of Parliament till the government agreed to a voting on allowing of FDI in multi-brand retail that it managed to win, thanks to the abstention of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party.
Just when the government thought it was done with the issue, Wal-Mart's disclosure in the US that it spent close to USD 25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India", created furor again.
The Opposition stalled Parliament for many days on the issue.
As per Wal-Mart's lobbying disclosure reports, the company has continuously lobbied for its India entry since 2008, except for a few quarters in 2009. The company, however, stressed that it did not pay bribes to anyone in India.
Another issue that created controversy was Wal-Mart's USD 100 million investment in Cedar Support Services, an arm of Bharti Ventures, when FDI in retail was not allowed here.
Now, the Enforcement Directorate is investigating the alleged violation of FDI regulations under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, by cash-and-carry chain Bharti Walmart – the equal joint venture between Wal-Mart and Bharti group.
Not only Indian authorities, Wal-Mart itself is probing allegations of corrupt