MCA examining reports on Walmart lobbying

MCA examining reports on Walmart lobbying New Delhi: Government is examining reports on Walmart's lobbying activities with American lawmakers so as to enter the Indian market, Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot said Monday.

"We are examining the report," Pilot said here.

The Ministry will look into a committee's report and make recommendations before sending it to Parliament, Pilot told reporters on the sidelines of the Annual Day of the Competition Commission of India.

The committee looking into US giant Walmart's lobbying activities to enter India submitted its report on May 18 to Pilot.

Former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudgal who headed the panel set up to look into lobbying activities by Walmart, had submitted the report to Pilot at his residence.

The panel, which was set up in January this year, is looking into "whether Walmart undertook any activities in India in contravention of any Indian law", and any other matter relevant to this issue.

There was political uproar following media reports about Walmart's lobbying among the US lawmakers since 2008 for facilitating its entry into the Indian market. The government in December 2012 had assured Parliament to get the matter probed by a retired judge.

As per US Congressional records of lobbying disclosure reports, the company spent a total amount of USD 6.13 million (about Rs 33 crore) on lobbying for various issues, including on "discussions related to FDI in India", during entire 2012.

The tenure of the committee, which was expected to present its report by April 30, was extended. The panel, which met five times, had also interacted with Walmart representatives besides gathering responses from the public on the matter.

The Corporate Affairs Ministry is providing administrative support to the committee.

Pilot said that there should be a demarcation between advocacy and lobby.

"In principle, I believe there has to be a clear demarcation and definition between what advocacy is and what lobbying is... In the absence of that there is ambiguity that creates a lot of problems and loophole on what these term means," he added.

PTI