TCS, Wipro spend $510,000 on US lobbying in 2013

PTI Posted online: Monday, Mar 03, 2014 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : India's top IT companies - TCS and Wipro - shelled out USD 510,000 (over Rs 3.15 crore) for lobbying on issues like immigration and trade with various government agencies in the US last year.

US-based Cognizant, which has close to 75 per cent of its 1.71 lakh global employee base in India, spent USD 1.37 million (Rs 8.48 crore) in 2013 in lobbying for immigration and tax-related issues, the report by non-profit organisation Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) said.

Interestingly, Infosys, which has faced many visa-related issues in the US, did not feature in the list of the top spenders on lobbying.

Azim Premji-led Wipro spent USD 440,000 (about Rs 2.72 crore) on lobbyists Maguire and Melanie Carter last year for immigration-related issues, the report said.

India's largest software services firm Tata Consultancy Services, which has over 2.9 lakh employees globally, spent USD 40,000 and USD 30,000 (over Rs 43.3 lakh in total) on lobbying firms -- Mercury and Mercury/Clark & Weinstock, respectively on immigration and trade-related concerns.

Cognizant declined to comment on the report, while Wipro did not respond to the email query. TCS confirmed the amount but did not offer further comments.

The report said global tech companies spent over USD 140 million (over Rs 867 crore) on lobbying with the US government agencies in 2013, with Google topping the list at USD 14.06 million (over Rs 87 crore) on issues ranging from copyright to homeland security.

Microsoft (USD 10.4 million), Oracle (USD 7.1 million), HP (USD 6.9 million) and Facebook (USD 6.4 million) followed in the list.

"In addition to campaign contributions to elected officials and candidates, companies, labour unions, and other organisations spend billions of dollars each year to lobby Congress and federal agencies. Some special interests retain lobbying firms, many of them located along Washington's legendary K Street; others have lobbyists working in-house," CRP said.

Lobbying in the government departments and other institutions is a legal activity in the US, but all the registered lobby firms are required to make disclosures every quarter about the payments received by them, as also the details of their lobbying activities.

The report found that across sectors, the lobbying spend had fallen to USD 3.21 billion in 2013 from USD 3.31 billion in the previous year. The number of lobbyists has also declined from 12,433 in 2012 to 12,279 last year.

Last year, Indian IT-BPM body Nasscom had also engaged Washington-based Barbour Griffith & Rogers to convey its concerns on the restrictive clauses in the Immigration Bill.

Besides working with advocacy groups like US India Business Council (USIBC), Tech America and Compete America, Nasscom hired influential lobbyist, public relation and law firms to plead the case of Indian firms with US Congressmen.