Lobbying Law Task Force
In view of the recent controversies regarding Wallmart’s lobbying activities and other scams in India, anti corruption agitation, our Executive Committee decided to set up a committee to prepare the draft paper about Lobbying Law that can be adopted in India for bringing the greater transparency in the functioning of the government affairs and to generate the confidence among common people and the Business community for rapid business growth.
Lobbying is arguably one of the most controversial activities in modern democracies. Lobbyists provide governments with valuable policy-related information and expertise but if the activity is not transparent, public interest may be put at risk in favour of specific interests. India currently does not have a law to regulate lobbying. But recent corruption scandals involving lobbying by big businesses have increased public pressure for a law to regulate the activity. Regulations serve as a tool to enhance transparency in the policymaking process rather than restricting access to policymakers. In fact, that is one of the key reasons why the UK regulates the lobbied rather than lobbying. Therefore, the thrust of the Indian law should be to incentivize lobbyists to identify themselves and ensure that competing groups have reasonably equal access to policymakers.
Many interest groups actively lobby with the government for change in laws and policy decisions. Interest groups not only include corporates, but also farmers’ associations, women’s organisations, trade unions and environmental groups. For example, women’s groups campaigned for the Domestic Violence Act; MKSS, a coalition of NGOs, campaigned for a Right to Information Act; Greenpeace lobbies against use of nuclear power plants and other technologies that degrade the environment. However, the public remains unaware of the special interest or advocacy groups that may have influenced a policy decision. Regulation would bring in much-needed transparency in the process but should guard against creating barriers to access for ordinary citizens wanting to engage with their political representatives.
Task Force Members
Mr. Mukesh Tyagi, CEO, Global Energizers
Mr Varun Sehgal, partner Fourth Estate
Mr. Atul Sharma, Partner Link Legal and IACC
Mr. Sujit Ghosh, Partner, BMR Advisors
Mr. Ajay K Dhir, President, APAC CXO Forum