Foreign Exchange Management Act

Foreign Exchange Management Act

Foreign Exchange Management Act

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The Foreign Exchange Management Act(FEMA) was an act passed in the winter session of Parliament in 1999 which replaced Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. This act seeks to make offenses related to foreign exchange civil offense.

FEMA, which replaced Foreign Exchange Regulation Act(FERA), had become the need of the hour since FERA had become incompatible with the pro-liberalisation policies of the Government of India. FEMA has brought a new management regime of Foreign Exchange consistent with the emerging framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). It is another matter that the enactment of FEMA also brought with it the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002, which came into effect from 1 July 2005.

Unlike other laws where everything is permitted unless specifically prohibited, under this act everything was prohibited unless specifically permitted. Hence the tenor and tone of the Act was very drastic. It required imprisonment even for minor offences. Under FERA a person was presumed guilty unless he proved himself innocent, whereas under other laws a person is presumed innocent unless he is proven guilty.

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