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Go paperless. Use DigiLocker

By Tinesh Bhasin
May 10, 2019 10:30 IST
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In DigiLocker, a user can get different government departments to issue documents in digital format.
At present, there are 117 such issuers.
You can get PAN, Aadhaar, vehicle fitness certificate, vehicle tax receipt, class ten and twelve mark sheets, driving licence, caste certificate, ration card, birth certificate, college degrees and diplomas, marriage certificate, and many more.

Next time a policeman asks for your car-related papers, instead of pulling out different sets of documents, how about you open an app in your mobile that has everything in digital format, be it a licence, vehicle registration, insurance and other documents?

These are not just scanned copies, but documents considered original by the law.

With DigiLocker, it’s possible now.

 

The government had issued a notification that a digital copy of vehicle-related papers, which are stored in Digilocker, will be accepted legally as originals.

DigiLocker is similar to a demat account that holds dematerialised share.

In DigiLocker, a user can get different government departments to issue documents in digital format.

At present, there are 117 such issuers.

You can get Permanent Account Number (PAN), Aadhaar Card, vehicle fitness certificate, vehicle tax receipt, class ten and twelve mark sheets, driving licence, caste certificate, ration card, birth certificate, college degrees and diplomas, marriage certificate, and many more.

Apart from being a virtual briefcase to hold your documents, one of the most prevalent uses of DigiLocker is online KYC (Know Your Customer).

Angel Broking, Edelweiss Broking and Zerodha, for example, are registered with DigiLocker as “Requesters”.

When opening an account with these stock brokers, their customers can do online KYC using DigiLocker. Similarly, BankBazaar and FundsTiger use it for KYC to provide loans.

“We are working on expanding the use of DigiLocker. It can be used in the health sector, where the user will upload medical documents and the hospital treating him can request the medical history,” says Debabarta Nayak, project director of DigiLocker.

How Digilocker works
Sign-up with mobile
Sync your Aadhaar
Get documents from issuers
Requesters ask for document
After consent, document is shared
Documents verified by requesters

Nayak explains other uses.

Universities can request for mark sheets if a student applies for admission.

Many employers spend around Rs 5,000 on document verification after hiring an employee.

They can instead request for original documents from DigiLocker, which can result in huge cost saving.

If someone is setting up a new business, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs can pull request documents.

The idea is to reduce paperwork and make processes faster.

DigiLocker also allows users to scan and upload their documents.

The service is free and allows up to one gigabyte (1 GB) space.

Documents that a user uploads have to be below 10MB each.

Earlier, ­­­­DigiLocker also provided a facility where its user could upload documents and self-attest them using Aadhaar-based e-Signature.

“A person’s identity needs to be attached to the document to make it legal, which is akin to signing on physical forms.

"Aadhaar allows users to attach a person’s identity at a lower cost than using digital signature certificates,” says Nayak.

But since the Supreme Court judgment on the use of Aadhaar, this service is no longer provided on the platform.

E-Signing a document is still possible, but it’s not as seamless as earlier and involves a lengthier procedure.

Some issuers are yet to come on the platform, such as Ministry of External Affairs, which issues your passport, or Election Commission of India that issues voters’ identity card, as each ministry has its own regulations on data sharing.

Signing up is easy. While you can sign up using a mobile number, having an Aadhaar is mandatory to request documents from issuers.

You can get documents issued from government departments and also upload your own - a will, for example.

"But remember that an electronically signed will is not considered an authentic document as it is not legally recognised,” says Prashant Mali, advocate and international cyber law and cybersecurity expert.

If a DigiLocker user passes away and his family wants access to it, legal heirs will need to get a succession certificate and can petition the DigiLocker for the procedure of account takeover.

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Tinesh Bhasin
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