'Indian companies hired lobbying firms in US'
Washington: As Wal-Mart's disclosures on lobbying generated political heat in India, records with American House of Representatives show that around 27 Indian companies have spent money on lobbying in the US.
The Indian companies involved in lobbying in the US for issues ranging from visa to exploring defence market include Reliance Industries Limited, Tata Sons, Ranbaxy Lab, the National Association of Software and Service Companies, the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council among others.
Ranbaxy has paid USD 90,000 to the lobbying firm Patton Boggs for issues including "Preserve Access to Affordable Generics", according to a document registered in 2010.
Tata Sons had roped in Cohen Group for lobbying, according to a document from 2007, related to issues described as "market research in the automotive, defence and energy sectors". No amount was mentioned in the document.
Reliance Industries became a client of the lobbyist Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, according to a 2009 document, on the unspecified issue of "TRD", which could mean trade.
As per a 2010 document, Wipro spent USD 33,000 on lobbyist Melanie Carter-Maguire on issues relating to trade and visa. Wiro roped in a lobbyist firm this year too but no amount has been mentioned.
Global retail giant Wal-Mart -- waiting for years to open its supermarkets in India -- has been lobbying with US lawmakers since 2008 to facilitate its entry into the Indian market.
As per the lobbying disclosure reports filed by Wal-Mart with the US Senate, it has spent close to USD 25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India".