Personal Finance

Go virtual with DigiLocker

Nalinakanthi V | Updated on November 25, 2018 Published on November 25, 2018

The Aadhaar-based platform for issuance and verification of documents and certificates is now live

Storing all your important documents, such as school certificates, Aadhaar, driving licence, in their physical forms in your cupboard could soon become passé, thanks to digital lockers. In 2015, the Centre, as part of its e-governance initiatives, launched the beta version of a digital locker facility — DigiLocker — for citizens and government departments. The Aadhaar-based platform for issuance and verification of documents and certificates, is now live (digilocker.gov.in).

You can now access official documents such as your tax returns, birth certificates, school leaving certificates and so on using just your Aadhar number. There are about 59 document-issuing organisations — including educational and financial institutions, and government agencies — on the DigiLocker platform. This saves you the hassle of safekeeping documents, and you no longer need to fret about damaged certificates.

Document-issuing organisations registered with DigiLocker can directly upload the documents to the citizen’s locker. For instance, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has opened over 80 lakh lockers for standard 10 and 12 students to upload their mark sheets, migration and pass certificates.

Likewise, DigiLocker has partnered with the Road Transport and Highways Ministry and National Register of driving licence and vehicle registration data. You no longer need to carry your driving licence — an electronic version of the driving licence and the RC book, digitally signed by the issuing authority, can now be accessed with a swipe on your phone.

All documents issued by government departments are shown in the dashboard under the ‘Issued Documents’ tab. You have to click on the ‘Pull Partner Documents’ section, select the issuer and document type and enter the document details you want to access. Once the document is retrieved, users can save the weblink in the ‘Issued Certificates Section’, for easy retrieval. Likewise, you can also upload documents that you wish to safekeep. You can digitally sign and verify the documents you have saved.

You can also share the documents through email. DigiLocker offers 1GB of space for storing documents and URL of issuers. You can also see the list of government agencies and departments that have issued any document to you.

DigiLocker uses 256 bit secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to ensure that the transmitted information is safe. This is comparable to the security standard offered by other cloud storage platforms such as Amazon and Microsoft. Aadhaar-based authentication using biometric data or mobile OTP adds to the security feature. DigiLocker also regularly undertakes security audit by a recognised audit agency. In addition to the above, other features such as time-out, in case of extended inactivity, have also been implemented.

How to get started

All you need to open a digital locker is a valid mobile number. The number is authenticated using a one-time password. However, it is pertinent that your mobile number is linked with Aadhaar in order to be able to avail yourself of the services.

Private banks such as Kotak Mahindra Bank and ICICI Bank have integrated DigiLocker with their net banking platforms. Savings bank account holders who have linked their bank accounts with Aadhaar and have registered for a Digilocker can access the locker through the banks’ net banking platforms.

Bank e-lockers

Besides DigiLocker, banks such as ICICI Bank also offer e-locker facilities. The bank provides e-locker service for free to its Privilege Banking and Wealth Management customers.

But only documents in pdf and jpg formats can be stored here, unlike cloud-based lockers where there is no restriction on the file type. ICICI Bank’s e-locker allows free storage of up to 1GB; however, the maximum size per file cannot exceed 10MB.

If you are apprehensive about keeping critical documents in a private e-locker, DigiLocker may be a good alternative. And its free for all.

Digilocker offers an e-verification facility which also validates the authenticity, which is not the case with private storage services.

The writer is a financial consultant

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