The Straits Times
Published on Dec 11, 2012

India mulls probe into Wal-Mart lobbying


NEW DELHI/MUMBAI (REUTERS) - India's government said it was prepared to launch an inquiry into lobbying by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., buckling under an opposition campaign to discredit a flagship economic policy.

Opponents of reforms that allow foreign supermarkets to trade in Asia's third largest economy renewed pressure on the government after Wal-Mart disclosed that it had paid US$25 million (S$30 million) over four years to lobby US lawmakers to help gain access to foreign markets, including India.

The government seemed to tone down its commitment to a probe, however, following contentions that the activities in question were legal under US law.

Wal-Mart has found itself entangled in a fight between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's fragile minority government and political opponents determined to thwart supermarket reform which, they say, will destroy the livelihoods of millions of mom-and-pop store owners.