press trust of india
New Delhi, 4 August
Advocating a transparent system for stakeholders to put across their viewpoint on policy matters, Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot said lobbying needs to be defined to differentiate it from influencing the policymakers through illegal means.
The issue of corporate lobbying has been a matter of debate for the past few months in the wake of global retail giant Walmart having lobbied hard before the USA lawmakers to seek their support on its India entry plans.
Walmart’s lobbying disclosure led to an intense debate within and outside Parliament in December and the government subsequently ordered a probe into the matter.
The one-man probe panel has submitted its report to the Corporate Affairs Ministry and the same would be presented in the Parliament along with an Action Taken Report in the next session starting tomorrow.
Asked whether the government would take this opportunity (Walmart matter) to come out with a clear set of guidelines on corporate lobbying in India, the minister said: “I don’t know whether we should use this report for this purpose, but certainly we need to define things.”
Lobbying is legally permitted in a number of countries, including the USA, and they require registered lobbyists and the companies concerned to make mandatory disclosures about such activities and the expenses involved.
However, India has no such guidelines in place currently.
“Whenever there is confusion or arbitrariness about certain words, it somehow develops a negative connotation and lobbying is one such word,” Mr Pilot told PTI in an interview.