Skip to comments.Let the truth be known - Did Walmart pay to enter India? Probe the issue
Posted on 12/18/2012 9:42:48 PM PST by Jyotishi
Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Kamal Nath has done well to assure the Opposition early Tuesday that the Government will inquire into the details of Walmart's lobbying activities in India. The retail giants recent disclosure to the US Senate that it has spent $25 million (about Rs125 crore) since 2008 to lobby for access to the Indian market, has raised uncomfortable questions on whether policy-makers in India were bribed by the American retail giant. Muddying the waters is the announcement by Bharti Walmart Pvt Ltd the joint venture company of Walmart and Bharti Enterprises Ltd last Friday that it has suspended five of its employees on charges of bribery for allegedly violating the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. While it remains unclear if this bribery case is related to the lobbying charges, when viewed together the allegations do cast a long shadow on the matter. Also, Walmart has reportedly been in touch with several politicians in this country to push its case apart from its efforts in the US where too it has been lobbying with American lawmakers for opportunities to do business in India. As of now, there may be no evidence of any wrongdoing. But then, there is also no evidence of over-the-table practice as well. Lobbying is legal in the US and the American Administration has already put out an official statement that Walmart's activities have been in keeping with US laws. The situation, however, is different in India where lobbying does not have explicit legal sanction. And in the absence of any clear guidelines, it is only a thin line that separates legitimate lobbying wherein professional lobbyists work with lawmakers to shape national policy from efforts at bribery and corruption. After all, Walmarts disclosure report does not provide details of how exactly the retail firm has spent the money on lobbying in this country.It is against this backdrop that the US has passed the buck on India for Walmarts activities in this country. All of these issues have to be kept in mind to appreciate the BJP-led Opposition's demand for a probe into Walmart's lobbying activities in India. The Opposition is unlikely to settle for a routine investigation; it has already demanded an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee. There is no doubt that, since the issue involves at its harmless best the influencing of the countrys policy-makers, and at its worst their purchase, a high-level inquiry alone can settle matters.
Walmart has understandably been keen to gain access to the fast-growing Indian consumer market for a long time now. But it has been able to get its foot in the door only recently after the Government decided to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail this September. By all means, this was a contentious decision which has polarised India's political class in a deep sense. In fact, the Congress-led UPA regime had to contrive a majority in both Houses of Parliament to endorse FDI in multi-brand retail. The decision was approved by the Lower House of Parliament on December 5 and by the Upper House on December 7 amid much political wrangling and bickering. Now, the Walmart lobbying report has added to the commotion that was only just showing signs of settling down.
And to confuse the matter even further, when the BJP was in power six or eight years ago (I forget which) they were all for FDI and the entry of players like Walmart into the Indian market. It’s only now, when they can’t claim credit for it, that they suddenly have a problem with it and/or have expressed their concern for smaller retailers and farmers if companies like Walmart start doing business here.
I think I read an article not long ago that Walmart was in trouble about $21 million in bribes in Mexico.
Man, having to ask permission just to do business there. India has come a long way, but they still have a lot of protectionist, “self-sufficiency” crap they need to jettison if they want to be a true economic powerhouse and not just a market for cheap labor.
Cost of doing business in most of the world, including here.
Business is business. Walmart wanted to build in the small city that I live in, not once but three times. Walmart was shot down by the business owners whom were afraid that Walmart would hurt the businesses. Guess what many of those same businesses are now empty storefronts with the signage there,the business gone and some have a for sale sign on them.
Great, in Michigan’s economic climate - jobs are virtually leaving the UP of Michigan.
I would love to see a Walmart nearby instead of having to drive 100 miles round trip for the nearest Walmart.
The idea that is corruption is nuts. walmart is moving into other counries whereby it can make a go of it. India fast growing economic market. Oddly India is buying up names/brands that in America that were once owned by the British- Jaguar, Land Rover. capitalism at its finest!
“...has raised uncomfortable questions on whether policy-makers in India were bribed by the American retail giant...”
In other news, correspondents on the subcontinent have raised uncomfortable questions on whether bears cr*p in the woods.
This shock is as genuine as Claude Rains' was in Casablanca.
you said it
WalMart running out of viable markets. It is a waste of time to spend so much resources in a country with a per capita income lower than a lot of African nations
Do cities, counties, states PAY companies to locate in their areas?
Of COURSE they do!
USA before NAFTA...
Then I guess they'd find that out; won't they?
India is almost as populated as China.
That is a HUGE demand side, no matter HOW rich the individuals are.
Walmart’s entry into India has turned into a huge corruption scandal.
Um, isn’t that pretty much how the REST of the world (outside the U.S.) works?