Indian government paying millions of dollars to firms for lobbying in US: Report

Indian government paying millions of dollars to firms for lobbying in US: Report
Washington: India has cut expenses toward lobbying in the US with a total payment of $120,000 to its registered lobbyist firm in the second quarter of 2017 - the first cut in nearly seven years. The disclosure has been made by BGR Government Affairs, which lobbied on behalf of India on issues relating to "bilateral US-India relations". According to the latest quarterly disclosure report filed with the US Senate, BGR has disclosed a total income of $120,000 from India toward "all lobbying related income from the client".

All lobbyist firms need to get registered in the US for undertaking any lobbying activities and file quarterly disclosures including about the payments received, specific issues for lobbying and the agencies approached by it.

During the second quarter of 2017 ended June 30, BGR lobbied on behalf of the Indian government at the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the Department Commerce, the Department of State and the US Trade Representative.

Prior to the latest quarter, BGR's quarterly lobbying income from the Indian government stood unchanged at $180,000 since the fourth quarter of 2010. Before that, the Indian government had paid BGR $60,000 in the third quarter of 2010 and less than $5,000 in the second quarter of that year, according to the disclosure reports filed over the years.

The latest disclosure report did not cite any reason for the decline in the quarterly payment to $120,000. The highest quarterly amount so far has been recorded in the fourth quarter of 2009 when BGR was paid $200,000, as per an analysis of all disclosure reports filed by it.

While the "specific lobbying issue" disclosed by BGR for Indian government has been "bilateral US-India relations" for many quarters now, the firm also used to lobby "issues related to the civil nuclear agreement" between the US and India till 2009.