Should business lobbying be made legal in India?

Should business lobbying be made legal in India?


Business lobbying should be made legal in India. Everyone from large business houses to smaller groups should have the right to form legalized coteries and pursue their agendas for political leadership in the country.

It is useless to deny that lobbying is not being carried on in an underhand manner in New Delhi’s power corridor or the financial capital of Mumbai right now. Things have changed with the advent of the present decade and business has come to play a crucial role in how political leaders are viewing key economic and commercial decisions.


• India has become a nation of many accomplishments. Legalizing corporate lobbying unfortunately is not one of them. This is dismal considering the illicit lobbying that goes around behind closed doors of the offices of many political leaders. It is better to allow lobbying to emerge as a means of encouraging diverse business groups to voice their opinion. It will give the government more firsthand data while making key decisions.

• Businesses know the realities of operating in a certain region or area. When companies such as Infosys, Tata, Reliance, Airtel and Godrej talk about the key issues, they are speaking from experience. But they are already heard because they are the big, established business houses. It is the small manufacturing firms and companies which need to have a voice if political decision making has to benefit larger sections of society.

• Small businesses and start-ups need support from the political leadership if they have to become successful. Small companies and organizations generate jobs and hasten economic growth in India. They are doing a great job, but they need help. India is a democracy and that mean equal rights for everyone to voice their opinions. Corporate lobbying is legal. Bribery is not. Given our dismal state when it comes to battling corruption, making corporate lobbying easy is the best way out.

• Business lobbying has the capacity to transform the way in which corporate can expand and make strategic moves in key areas. Political sensitivities often motivate certain leaders to make an unprofitable decision. The same leaders who hold that they are fending off capitalists to save the farmer’s lands should consider the huge impact the industry could have on generating jobs and economic growth in the area. Moreover, it is not as if the farmers will not be given fair compensation for their land, if mechanisms are set in place to ensure this. Balancing populist concerns with the crying need for growth and development is vital. Business lobbying can enlighten leaders about the undeniable benefits of spurring economic growth in undeveloped regions.

• India does not want to opt for non-progressive leaders now. The urban citizen wants to face less EMIs and lower inflation. The rural farmer wants better irrigation and financing opportunities and fair compensation for land. Development is the latest mantra. Freedom from corruption is the battle cry. Business lobbying can achieve this.


India has reached a stage where the public is fed up of corruption. Legalizing business lobbying will make political decision making fairer. Business leaders have a very good idea of what the pressing concerns in the economy are. They are far better than those brought up on less progressive ideals. Development is a key goal. If we fall behind, we will never achieve superpower status. Our villages will continue to suffer from infrastructural facilities and problems. Our urban centres will continue to have inequitable growth. Change is good only if it tries to make a difference. But trying is not enough. Change is best if the desired outcome is attained, not merely a distant dream. Legalizing business lobbying will be a step towards this.
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  • Should business lobbying be made legal in India? -Farhana Afreen (04/03/14)
  • Should business lobbying be made legal in India?

    Lobbying in considered legal bribery in India and isn’t it sarcastic that in a country where no government matters are solved without bribery, a beneficiary attempt like lobbying is considered illegal? Clearly defining, lobbying are the endeavours that an individual or Corporate Group make to influence the course of legislative policy of a country or state with a motive of bringing benefits to them and upholding their welfare. Their objective requires influences of the legislators, members of Parliament that could be solved by creating a lobby to bring forward the proposal and get the legislation passed in support of the Corporate Group. Lobbyists can be anyone trying to advance his business to bring profit to their group like leaders of labour Unions, Corporate representatives, bureaucrats, advocates implementing power in legislative circles, or other private interest groups.

    In India, Lobbying is neither considered legal nor illegal; there is no specific set of rules that define the term.

    Other public bodies are considered to be lobbyists like Public Relations, some Associations, Federations, Confederations of Industry and commerce etc. All of them function as lobbyists to make sure the policies are framed in favour of their organization. It is high time that such groups be given a legal permit so that government could also benefit from them. Mostly lobbyists do not use money to deal with the legislation for their benefit. Either they use votes, polls or public opinions on their support to set their work done. This cannot be illegal in any way.

    Let’s consider the long awaiting case of the global retail mall, Wal-Mart. They have been trying since past 2 years to get a permit of opening their supermarket in India. They had been lobbying with the law makers to enter Indian market. Rajya Sabha MP’S were totally against this and named it a kind of corruption. They clearly stated that lobbying was illegal in India and the efforts made by the company which including spending crores of money was bribery. Questions were raised on implementation of FDI in retail and asked about the group to which the money was given. This happened simply because there were no such rules and regulations that laid down the terms in lobbying. Wal-Mart disclosed that it had spent around US$23 billion to lobby for access to overseas market, including India. Legalization of lobbying could ensure transparency in the system and hence corruption in the field could be tackled. Who took the money and what they gave in return could be legally sorted only if there was a proper set of rules for lobbying.

    If lobbying is made legal, business corporate and organizations could sit for a discussion and debate on the various issues they are facing and the kind of lobbying that could be initiated to let them achieve their aim. This would ensure consideration on all the facets of the policy that is to be framed.

    The Indian government also has a lobby group that presents its case with American lawmakers and many Indian companies also resort to lobbying activities in the US through their personal lobbyists. At many International platforms like in the UN, World economic summits, in sports, in organizing Olympics, Commonwealth Games, etc, countries lobby for their benefit. Lobbying opens up more options and detailed description of what could be benefited in comparison to the competitors seeking the same favour. India would, no doubt, gain if it makes lobbying legal.