New Delhi, Dec 11: A disclosure report that revealed that Walmart had spent a whopping Rs 125 crore for lobbying to get access to Indian market has created a political storm in India. The opposition parties are up in arms against Congress-led UPA government over the Walmart lobbying report.
With the Walmart lobbying report out, opposition parties have got fuel to oppose 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail. The FDI in multi-brand retail was recently passed in Parliament, after government managed to get numbers in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Lobbying is considered illegal and akin to bribery in India. In US although it is not illegal, but is a controversial and debatable issue.
"Lobbying in the United States describes paid activity in which special interests hire well-connected professional advocates, often lawyers, to argue for specific legislation in decision-making bodies such as the United States Congress. It is a highly controversial phenomenon, often seen in a negative light by journalists and the American public, and frequently misunderstood," said an expert.
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Rajya Sabha on Monday, Dec 10 that in 2012 alone, Walmart spent $3 million in India. "Lobbying is illegal in India. This is a case of bribery," he said.
Prasad demanded names of the recipients of Rs 125 crore spent by Walmart for lobbying in India be made public.
"If Walmart can disclose to the US Senate on lobbying money, then India should exert pressure on it to reveal the names of recipients here," he said.
However, US has said the global retail giant did not violate any American law as far as the matter is concerned. "On the US side, I don't have any reason to believe that we have a violation of US law here. With regard to the Indian side, I'll refer you to them," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on Monday categorically dismissing allegations by Indian opposition parties in this regard.