LOBBYING,let us get introduced with the term.In simple language,it means,to influence someone’s decision.With respect to the business and corporate term,it can be said that lobbying is the act of influencing the decisions made by the officials,for example,in the government.In the present scenario,several countries have given momentum to such corporate lobbying as it serves for the benefit of a particular organization or firm.Many of us term this as LEGAL BRIBERY.But this is absolutely not true.Bribery is clearly illegal and we are already acquainted with it,but lobbyists seldom actually use money to fulfill their “own” needs.They use votes and public opinion to convince a member of a particular party to try to see things their way.
Infact, lobbying is a legitimate and legal business activity when it comes to united states.Over there,it describes a paid activity in which special interests hire well-connected professional advocates,often lawyers,to argue for specific legislation in decision making bodies.
But,the case somewhat differs with the Indian scenario.As we are acquainted with the WALMART CASE.Global retail giant Walmart-waiting for two years to open its supermarkets in India,had been lobbying with US lawmakers,since 2008 to facilitate its entry in the highly lucrative Indian market.Our Rajya Sabha MP’S were outraged and it was given the form of corruption.It was said that lobbying is illegal in India and if Wal-Mart had said that hundreds of crores of rupees were spend in India,then it is a kind of bribe.He added that government should tell that who was given this bribe.This raised a question mark on implementation of FDI in retail.Therefore, this case was enough to accept that lobbying is considered illegal and akin to bribery in India.In other words, it can be said that,what is corporate lobbying in the developed nations,is a broad form of corruption in the developing nations like India.
India is vast country and has a lot of complexities and problems.The lobbying company has no perception of the diversity and nature of problems.The government might simply gamble on the tactics of the lobbyist and that might be harmful in future.For example-the govt depends on the lobbyists for his decisions and if that lobbyists belong to any private sector,he will only think of the benefit of his own sector. This way, it would take the shape of corruption.
Walmart recently disclosed that it spent around US$23 billion to lobby for access to overseas market,including India.Likewise,if the lobbying is made legal,then asking for disclosures on the amount of money spent on lobbying and where it is spent could be the first steps taken to ensure the common man’s and the corporate’s benefit.
Hence,it is not lobbying that is a problem,but the lack of transparency and lack of mechanisms to monitor the activities,that is at the root of the problem.