Dec 122012

The author has posted comments on this articleAgencies | Dec 13, 2012, 06.03AM IST
WASHINGTON: As Walmart’s disclosures on lobbying generate political heat in India, records with the US House of Representatives show that around 27 Indian companies have spent money on lobbying in the US. The Indian companies — which lobbied for issues ranging from visas to exploring defence markets — include Reliance Industries (RIL), Tata Sons, Ranbaxy Lab, the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom ), and the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, among others.

Ranbaxy paid $90,000 to lobbying firm Patton Boggs for issues including ‘Preserve Access to Affordable Generics’ , according to a document registered in 2010. Tata Sons had roped in the Cohen Group for lobbying, according to a document from 2007, over issues described as “market research in the automotive , defence and energy sectors” . No amount was mentioned in the document.

RIL became a client of the lobbyist Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, according to a 2009 document, on the unspecified issue of “TRD” , which could mean trade. According to a 2010 document, Wipro spent $33,000 on lobbyist Melanie Carter-Maguire for issues relating to trade and visas. Wipro roped in a lobbyist firm this year too but no amount has been mentioned.

Walmart has been lobbying with US lawmakers since 2008 to facilitate its entry into the Indian market. According Walmart’s lobbying disclosure reports filed with the US Senate, it has spent close to $25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on various lobbying activities, including on issues related to “enhanced market access for investment in India”.

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