Make lobbying, advocacy legal, says industry body Assocham
Lobbying and corporate advocacy should be made absolutely legal as India has come a long way on path to economic liberalization where conflicting interests are bound to and be legitimately allowed to compete for the policy space and regulatory issues, based on sound and fair economic logics, the Assocham has said.
“Like in the US, we should make lobbying fully legal with all the rules of transparency in place. As long as the policy-makers know for whom the advocacy is being done, it should be absolutely fine. After all, in competitive markets, business players with conflicting interests would surely fight for the policy space… As long as their advocacy arguments for or against a particular premise are being advanced in a fair and transparent manner, no ulterior motives should be attached. It is high time, lobbying is not taken as a bad word and professional lobbying firms are allowed,” said Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat.
He further contended that making lobbying and advocacy legal would also lead to a clean way of approaching the policy-makers and law –makers if they have any legitimate and genuine interests… No motive should then be attached to a law-maker or those in government taking a particular position as long it is all done in a manner that is above board.
“While we have come a long way on liberalisation path, we are still used to an archaic style of working. The US is the most regulated economy even though it is the mecca of free market…. As long as business houses and their retainers resort to advocacy as per the rules of the game, it should be fine….Besides, even when the rules of the game are being framed in a particular sector of the economy, those who feel their interests can be in jeopardy should have a right to voice their concern. But it should all be done in an open way and not in a surreptitious way…..which is what had brought a bad name …., said Mr. Rawat.