ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Make Lobbying Legal

The Disclosure of Lobbying Activities Bill 2013 was introduced as a private member's bill to regulate political lobbying in India. Bhargavi Zaveri (EPW,15 June 2013) has analysed various aspects of this bill identifying provisions that will have an impact on stakeholders. I want to raise some further issues with regard to implications for industry.

Industrial lobbying in India has existed for a while now, undertaken by bodies such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Indian Industry. However, we have lacked a law to regulate it and ensure transparency and legitimacy. The recent bill asserts lobbying as an integral part of democratic functioning in India. It is important to remember that lobbying by industries consists of two dimensions-- political organisation of an industry and then the act of lobbying itself. It is however difficult to assess whether lobbying contributes to the strengthening of democratic institutions. It is important to examine how extensively lobbying affects the political decision-making process in India and whether industries benefit economically from membership of such groups.

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