Between your wallet and that locker in your house where you keep things safe (in theory; in practice you forget to put things in there safely, and then have a panic attack as you desperately search everywhere for your missing passport), how many government documents do you think you have? A quick check shows that there are several at hand – an Aadhaar card, a driver’s license, voter ID, PAN card, all in the wallet, and a passport at home. Then there’s old income tax returns, property tax receipts, and educational certificates from school and college, all kept “safely” archived for when they’re needed.
Prime Minister Modi of India has launched digital locker facility which will help citizens of India to store their important documents like PAN card, passport, mark sheet, college certificates,birth and death certificates,land records , loan records and property records etc.
Aadhar card is a must and linked mobile phone.
Salient points about Digital Locker or DigiLocker:
Each Aadhaar-linked digital locker, which is hosted on such a cloud by the Indian government , comes with 1GB of free memory space. The locker has five components: “My Certificates”, “My Profile”, “My Issuer”, “My Requester” and “Directories”.
“A person has a number of certificates issued to him – for education, birth, property. When they are digitally stored, it decreases administrative overheads of the government. There will also be less fraud. Whatever you submit, you will be held responsible,” said Ram Sewak Sharma, secretary in the Department of Information Technology .”If a document is found to be forged you cannot deny it,” added Sharma. “Even the American social security number does not have a biometric database,” he said. “Using the biometric authentication process, one can also link a mobile number to his/her identity. So my mobile number effectively becomes my digital identity.”Giving an example, the top official said: “If a Class XII certificate is issued to a person with a Digital Locker it will have a link. This link can be shared. So wherever this certificate is submitted, it can be verified. One knows it is genuine. For the government, it is a great advantage. Since Aadhaar is unambiguous, the first stage of a person’s authentication is already done.”
There’s also a planned e-Signature facility with DIGILocker, though that will be launched later; between digital signatures and government documents in the cloud, it is clear that the government wants to make it easier for people to use government services online. Today, getting almost anything done with the government requires you to produce ID documents, which requires a visit to the government offices. Few, if any, government branches allow you to mail a copy of your documents – which actually makes sense for security reasons – but DIGILocker will be a way to authentically curate your documents, and make it easy to share them to different departments.
There’s also the question of external threats. While the DIGILocker website looks to have the basics in place by using HTTPS (the same protocol that your bank uses to secure communication between your computer and their servers) for the main part of the website, you have to wonder how secure the backend is. You can be pretty sure that a place where everyone is keeping their official documents will be a target for hackers foreign and local.
Highlights of the scheme:
• Free space of 1GB to securely store documents and links of official e-documents.
• eSign service to digitally sign documents online.
• Sharing of e-documents online with any registered requester.
• Secure access for requesters to documents in digital lockers.
• Documents will have authenticity to eliminate fakes.
• People will be held liable for veracity of documents uploaded.
• Options for several documents: Educational certificates, PAN card, Voter ID card.
• Can eventually be used in a host of domains: Passports, college admissions, driving licences.
The free government scheme that provides a virtual vault in cyberspace for the safe-keep of documents like birth certificates and property papers has attracted ten lakh people so far .
To sign up for your Digital Locker, you need your Aadhaar number and a mobile number linked to that Aadhaar number. To sign up, visit https://digitallocker.gov.in. To sign up, you need only enter your Aadhaar number, and an SMS is set out to the mobile phone number you registered at the enrolment camp. This one-time-password is the only way to get inside your DIGILocker for the first time, but afterwards, you can set your own password or link the DIGILocker to your Google or Facebook login.