Imagine going for an account opening. You diligently carry all the necessary documents. You have your ID proof, an address proof, income details, tax records. But the man behind the counter says you need a birth certificate as well. So you go back home to fetch the missing document again. Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to all your key documents at all times, and be able to digitally share them to the requester using an internet-connected smartphone?
Enter DigiLocker, a National Digital Locker system backed by the government of India. It can be accessed at digilocker.gov.in or on the Android app store. An iOS app is in the works. DigiLocker today enables a secure customer consent-based sharing of documents from issuer to requester.
HOW DIGILOCKER WORKS
A DigiLocker account can be opened conveniently by going to the website. You can register your account in a couple of minutes by signing up with your cellphone number and completing an SMS OTP verification. Once opened, a DigiLocker lets you electronically store, share, and self-attest your documents.
There is an ecosystem of various entities using DigiLocker. First, there is you, the common man, using his account to store, share and e-sign his documents.
Then, there are issuers, government and business entities that issue documents directly into your DigiLocker for your convenience. For example, in Hyderabad, we have the MeeSevaonline delivery portal that provides services such as income certificates, residence certificates etc.
Then, there are requesters — also government and business entities who can request for your DigiLocker documents in order to provide you a service. For example, the NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited allows you to fetch your DigiLocker documents if you are applying for a PAN card.
To see the full list of issuers and requesters, you can create your DigiLocker account today and log in to avail services in your area.
BENEFITS OF DIGILOCKER
DigiLocker allows you 24x7 access to the documents uploaded to your account. You can access them at any point. This saves you time you'd spend collecting pieces of paper and photocopying them.
At the government’s end, paperless collection and disbursal of documents minimises use of paper, clears administrative clutter, and speeds up manual processes. For example, if you're a CBSE X or XII student between 2014 and 2017, you can get marksheets and migration certificates issued directly to your DigiLocker.
Next, it is easy to verify the authenticity of these documents. For example, your Class X and XII certificate being issued into your DigiLocker is issued directly by the CBSE. So when you share this document during an account opening, it needs no further verification. This further reduces processing time.
Lastly, a DigiLocker account also prepares you for an up-and-coming trend in finance, which is e-signature. The use of e-sign is on the rise, and it will be one of the key drivers to access to instant, paperless finance in the near future. As of today, you still need to put your ‘wet’ (ink) signatures on application forms for account openings. However, the e-sign has been accorded legal status and is expected to be used on a larger scale. With Aadhaar-based e-sign now a possibility, the cost of electronically signing documents has come down. As per reports, the cost of one e-sign was earlier `20, but has now come down to `1. DigiLockers get an e-sign facility for free, and self-attest them electronically while sharing them.
A greater push is required from the ministry of electronics and information technology for addition of more issuers on the DigiLocker platform, enabling users to share documents like income tax returns, TDS records, indirect tax challans, and banking transactions.
More issuers getting on the platform will create a trusted paperless ecosystem enabling individuals and businesses to share their documents paperlessly for availing financial or governmental services. For now, you can be prepared for this paperless future by registering your DigiLocker account today.
(The writer is CEO of BankBazaar.com)...