Lobbying is legal but up to a point: Salman Khurshid

Thursday, December 16, 2010

KOLKATA - Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Salman Khurshid Thursday said lobbying and public relations were part of the democratic set-up, but cautioned against their use to subvert corporate governance.

“The process of corporate lobbying is not illegitimate. It is a democratic right which people have, but there should be a legitimate limit on this. Has anyone said that lobbying is illegal? But it should not go beyond a point,” Khurshid said on the sidelines of the ‘India Corporate Week’ event here.

“Today, through RTI transparency model, it can be known how we take decisions in government. Now, perhaps, transparency model needs to include areas of lobbying, PR and specific influence that should be known to public,” Khurshid said.

He, however, remained tightlipped regarding regulation on lobbying, saying the present legal system should be considered first.

“This is a matter of concern for all the ministries. For that, we should consult with law, home, commerce and industry ministries and see what people at large feel. Then we will move forward,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after addressing a seminar on sustainable business organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Khurshid said: “There is no law on this (corporate lobbying) now, but we will examine it… we don’t have anything in the draft that is before parliament and we may consider some other way of regulating it. I think it will have to be discussed by all the concerned ministries together and only then can we move forward.”

He also said the National Company Law Tribunal would not be in place till after the budget session of parliament.

Khurshid also welcomed suggestions from opposition parties to tide over the 2G scam imbroglio.

“We will be very happy if the opposition comes out with some objective suggestions regarding this. During the Satyam scam also we put things right and overcame it, we will do the same in terms of telecom also. For that, my ministry is ready to give whatever assistance we can,” he said.

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