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Main Features of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)!
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 offences related to foreign exchange civil offences. It extends to the whole of India.
The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) of 1973 in India was replaced on June 2000 by the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FERA), which was passed in 1999. The FERA was passed in 1973 at a time when there was acute shortage of foreign exchange in the country.
It had a controversial 27 years stint during which many bosses of the Indian corporate world found themselves at the mercy of the Enforcement Directorate. Moreover, any offence under FERA was a criminal offence liable to imprisonment. But FEMA makes offences relating to foreign civil offences.
FEMA had become the need of the hour to support the pro- liberalisation policies of the Government of India. The objective of the Act is to consolidate and amend the law relating to foreign exchange with the objective of facilitating external trade and payments for promoting the orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange market in India.
FEMA extends to the whole of India. It applies to all branches, offices and agencies outside India owned or controlled by a person, who is a resident of India and also to any contravention there under committed outside India by two people whom this Act applies.
The Main Features of the FEMA:
The following are some of the important features of Foreign Exchange Management Act:
i. It is consistent with full current account convertibility and contains provisions for progressive liberalisation of capital account transactions.
ii. It is more transparent in its application as it lays down the areas requiring specific permissions of the Reserve Bank/Government of India on acquisition/holding of foreign exchange.
iii. It classified the foreign exchange transactions in two categories, viz. capital account and current account transactions.
iv. It provides power to the Reserve Bank for specifying, in , consultation with the central government, the classes of capital account transactions and limits to which exchange is admissible for such transactions.
v. It gives full freedom to a person resident in India, who was earlier resident outside India, to hold/own/transfer any foreign security/immovable property situated outside India and acquired when s/he was resident.
vi. This act is a civil law and the contraventions of the Act provide for arrest only in exceptional cases.
vii. FEMA does not apply to Indian citizen’s resident outside India.
Difference between the FERA and FEMA:

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