Aadhaar key to stash away your signature in digital locker

NEW DELHI: Citizens signing on to the government’s newly launched Digital Locker service can get themselves an Aadhaar-linked digital signature that they can use to self-certify electronic documents.

Digital Locker, rechristened `DigiLocker’ since its beta version was launched last week, offers an electronic signature, or `e-sign’, service that Aadhaar holders can use to digitally sign an electronic document without having to obtain a physical digital signature dongle. This is done by authenticating users through Aadhaar’s e-know your customer (e-KYC) service.

These digital signatures, however, will not be official until a formal launch. The government hasn’t given a time for this yet.

The DigiLocker, one of the key initiatives under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Digital India plan, will allow citizens to store all their certificates and official documents – including birth certificates, university degrees and income tax documents – in a digital format online and access them using their Aadhaar numbers.

Users can log into DigiLocker by providing their Aadhaar number, which must be mapped to their mobile phone number and email address in the Aadhaar data base.”Mobile as a digital identity was an idea articulated in Digital India programme,” said RS Sharma, secretary, department of electronics and information technology, or DeitY.

The system is hosted on the National Informatics Centre’s cloud, and will work in tandem with digital repositories of the departments issuing citizen documents. In the initial phase, 1 million digital lockers will be made available, with 10 MB of storage space per person. This will eventually be scaled up to 1GB per locker.

The e-KYC service, launched by Aadhaar in 2013, allows individuals to authorise service providers to receive an electronic copy of their identity proof and address.