Corporate Lobbying - No regulation, No ban and Not illegal

Corporate Lobbying - No regulation, No ban and Not illegal

(Case study of wall-mart's entry in India)

Introduction

Resent years have been seen a new and dynamic terms in Corporate Communication and Public Relation (PR). After 2G Spectrum scam and 51 present FDI was allowed in multi-brand retail, especially in Wall-mart's entry in Indian market, new controversy began with corporate communication and lobbying. Although lobbying is one of the oldest profession and has always been part of political and legislative system of USA,UK and most of European countries. But it is totally new for India. Lobbying is well established industry and considered a legal business activity in many countries such as United States of America, England, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Itly, Lithuania, Poland Israel etc. India does not have any clear regulation for or against lobbying. "No regulations, No ban and Not illegal" these are parameters of lobbying in India. this issue never get importance far so many years but when Wall-mart spend $25 million to lobby for its entry in India and 2G spectrum scam only go into the dire to need to regulate legitimate lobbying. "Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, mostly legislators". Lobbying is done by individuals or organized groups. Usually lawyers, retired bureaucrats, chartered accountants and journalists. these personalities known as lobbyist in corporate communication business. The Webster dictionary defines "Lobby" to means" a group of persons who conduct a campaign to influence members of legislature to vote according to the groups special interest".

Objective

My analysis focus on two main questions 1) What does lobbying need in India? ban or legal 2) Corporate lobbying is dangerous to Indian democracy? using the lobbying database and reports of wall mart’s lobbying in India the researcher trying to find difference between lobbying and corruption in Indian democracy.

Methodology

The research design comprised content analysis method. Content Analysis involves systematic analysis of the groups of words and pictures that are published, brodcast or spoken. This study consist of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Content analysis was found to be the most appropriate research method for the present study. The researcher made an in depth analysis of debates, discussion, The Telegraph report, The Indian Express articles, news in media and wall mart's policies, rules of lobbying etc.

Wall-Mart

In 1945 with $20,000 in borrowed money, Sam Walton purchased a Ben Franklin five and dime franchise in Newport. Six years later Walton wanted to expand but his wife refused to live outside a small town. Eleven years later in 1962, the future of modern discount retailing was born as K mart. Target and the first door for business, lacking capital Wal-Mart grew slowly, opening only fifteen stores in next eight years. In 1070 wall mart stock was offered on the New York stock exchange. By 1980, 276 stores were separated across eleven states. Shortly before Sam Walton’s death in 1992. wall mart began an agressive globalization effort. Today wall matr is the largest retailer in the world. walmart, a business behemoth, with about $ 450 billion revenue- greater than GDP of many countries. In this journey of wall mart lobbying played very important role. Thoug lobbying is legal in US, it is rather midel term for bribery in India. According to The Wall Street Journal reported on october 6, 2011- wall mart has disclosed earlier, " disussion related to India FDI as one of the issues in its lobbying with the US lawmakers in te firat two quartera of 2011, during whic it spend nearly $4 million on various lobbying activities" On december 13, 2012 ' The Telegraph' reported that in a resent regulatory disclosure in te US, wal mart hand stated that it spend $ 25 million (Rs.135 crore) in the last four years on lobbying for among other its ope for "enhanced market access for investment in India". Though lobbying is considered a legal business activity in US, in India it is still not considered as a legal business activity. However controvercy began in India.

Indian scenario and case study

Corporate lobbying in India resent came into to limlight due to the Wall-Mart and 2G Spectrum scam. As above mention No regulation, No ban and Not illegal these are parameters of lobbying in India but the law that has some relevance to lobbying in section 7 of the prevention of corruption Act, 1988, which makes it illegal for a public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official Act. In India, corporate lobbying expanding in the form of intensive briefings and presentations to ministers, legislators, officials and senior civil servants. On the other side lobbying has now becoming service industry, know by different names like corporate communication, public relation, external affairs managers etc. Dilip Cherian, founder of a public relations agency, “Perfect Relation” and also known as lobbyist in India. He says that, lobbying is an “iterative process and lobbyist’s function as a bridge between companies and the government. We help our clients in understanding the policy environment of the country. We help them in indentifying key players and their positions in the policy area. The key players could be political parties, bureaucrats, central government, panchayat government etc.” In a democratic country like India, people from across the spectrum, including the industries and associations, should have the right to convey their views to policy makers. Federation of Indian chambers of commerce and industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian industries (CII), National association of software and service companies (NASSCOM), private firms like Neera Radia’s Vaishnavi Communication and Deepak Talwar’s DTA Association are among top lobby groups. But FICCI and other organizations however, maintains that they are not lobby groups and work to exercise influences to engage with the government on policy issues. But on the other side the Indian government itself has a lobby firm presenting its case with American lawmakers. At various platform like in the UN, world economic summits, in sports, in organizing Olympics etc. is an open secret. Enron- the Dabhol power project in Maharashtra, foreign investment in corporate sector, big defense purchase (Bofors) and now FDI in multi retail, all have been shadowed by the issue of lobbying. However, with a tsunami of corruption scams like 2G spectrum, Colgate and latest Wal-mart rocking in India in past few months demands for need to regulate legitimate lobbying. Union corporate Affairs minister, Salman Khurshid has remarked that, his ministry and other departments of the government are working on the issue of regularizing lobbying. The Planning Commission of India has also set up an expert committee to look into the processed the comprise lobbying. But this is not easy task in India because, on the other side surrogate lobbying is another powerful weapon which is used by the industries and ‘foreign hand’. The instances of surrogate lobbying by the industries with funds coming from various parts of the world are also being raised by the civil society, media and others. The contentious issue became the subject of a heated debates related to ‘Kudankulam’ nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu. In February 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reportedly charged that foreign NGO’s for stoking protest with fund at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant for vested interests and order further investigation by Ministry of Home Affairs to track the trails of funds.

Suggestions and Recommendations

Some of the key finding on this study has given a new challenge. It is found that Wall Mart accepted that they spend $ 25 million for lobbying in India. But due to this main issue raised that, still lobbying is not legal activity in India like US and many Europian countries and is a kind of bribe. It is also found that many industrial sectors have formed their respective associations primarily for lobbying with the government, which is generall termed as "advocacy". At the same time it is observed that government also carry out lobbying activity through their foreign emissaries or by hiring lawyers. Thus lobbying is a function of present democracy and government. Lobbyest make corruption legal in India. Their is no mecanism in India to bring accountbility to lobbying and poblicly reveal the lobbying positions of industries and money spend by them.In India, nobody knows the lobbying position of corporate industries. On of the other side the government might simple gamble on the tactics of the lobbyist and that might become harmful in future. Therefore the need of a law to regulate the corporate lobbying or it shoud be brought under the ambit of RTI. However it is high time to legitimize and regulate lobbying activity through appropriate legislation.

Conclusion

The discourses of authenticity and credibility of research come to light from tis study, • Present their is no law regulating the corporate lobbying in India Therefore the need of the hour is to divice a law to regulate the corporate lobbying. • In democratic country like India the economic and other critical policy decisions are mostly based on what the local population would required. Therefore corporate lobbying should be brought under a ambit of RTI. • The process of lobbying or advocacy sould be made absolutely transparent for all, through law, rules and regulations just as exists in US. Regulation will also help in making lobbying white and legitimate in the eye of public. • As evident from Wall-Mart lobbying and 2G Spectrum scam, it is very clear that, if corporate lobbying is not curbed in to legal limits, it would increase te corruption and shall badly affect the groth of the nation.

References and Biliography

1) 'Lobbying' Merriam-Webster Dictionary.com

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/lobbying

3) Bedford/St. Martin's., Research in mass communication : a pratical guide(2000) Boston.

4) Argenti, Paul A., Corporate Communications. 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill,2007.

5) The Wall Street Journal report, Oct 6, 2011.

6) The Telegraph report, Dec 13, 2012.

7) Hindustan Times, Ne Delhi, Dec.15, 2012 : Advocacy of intrest or corporate bribery.

8) Debates report of te Upper House of te Indian Parliament, on Monday, Dec.10, 2012.

9) The Times of India, Nov 28, 2010 : Profile of te Great Indian Lobbyist.

10) http://www.indiacsr.in, Jan 22. 2013.

11) http:/nationalbarindia.org/artical/14/corporate-lobbying : Karan Gandhi. 12) The Economic Times, Jun 3, 2012 : http:/articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-06-03/News/3198588.

13) The Indian Express, Mon Dec10, 2012

14) The Indian Express,Tue Apr 23, 2013.

15) http://www.newint.org : NI 439 January/February 2011.

16) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walmart.


Corporate Lobbying - No regulation, No ban and Not illegal  Corporate Lobbying - No regulation, No ban and Not illegal Reviewed by Yuvraj Pardeshi on 01:42 Rating: 5

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