New Delhi: The government said today that it is willing to order an inquiry to determine if Wal-Mart lobbied in India for access to the country's vast retail sector. There were multiple disruptions in the Lok Sabha today before the house discussed the issue at 2 pm this afternoon.
Here are the top 10 developments:
- The BJP and Left parties have demanded that a joint parliamentary committee or JPC be formed to investigate the Wal-Mart controversy. The Opposition points out that lobbying is illegal in India.
- Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the government is amenable to an investigation. "The issue of Wal-Mart lobbying is not a concern only for opposition but also for the Government of India," he said in Parliament.
- The new controversy is fomented by a disclosure in the US that Wal-Mart spent 125 crores in the last four years on lobbying for different agendas including its goal to set up supermarkets in India.
- The US said today that Wal-Mart has not violated any law. The US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, "On the US side, I don't have any reason to believe that we have a violation of US law here. With regard to the Indian side, I'll refer you to them." She also said, "The report which some of these allegations have cited is a regularly required report for the US government as part of our open government transparency in governance requirements."
- Wal-Mart said yesterday that allegations of any illegalities in India are baseless.
- But the BJP says that a detailed inquiry must be conducted to determine if government officials were bribed to help introduce or clear a new law that allows foreign super-chains to sell directly to the Indian customer. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said yesterday, "It appears as if a bribe was given...who was bribed? The government must explain."
- Last week, the government won a vote in Parliament on its decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment or FDI in retail. The vote was non-binding but tested the ability of the minority government to help push important legislation and reforms.
- The government was reduced to a minority in September when the PM decided to introduce new economic reforms led by FDI in retail. Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress exited the coalition in protest.
- The reforms, economic experts and investors believe, will shore up a slowing economy and bring in a fresh infusion of investment, which could also help farmers and small businesses.
- However, Opposition parties said the new policy will crush small retailers not able to withstand the competition from the global giants.
Story First Published: December 11, 2012 10:19 IST