IT ministry nudges telecom companies to provide DigiLocker services

Earlier this month, the IT ministry issued an official order to the Controller of Digital Locker Authority to invite applications from private entities to apply as providers


Users can sign up for DigiLocker services, link it to their Aadhaar cards, upload their documents, e-sign them and share the documents on request. Photo: iStockphoto
Users can sign up for DigiLocker services, link it to their Aadhaar cards, upload their documents, e-sign them and share the documents on request. Photo: iStockphoto

New Delhi: The information technology ministry is nudging private entities like telecom companies to provide DigiLocker services, as it looks to make the usage of dematerialized documents more widespread.

DigiLocker is a government repository for documents. Users can sign up for the service, link it to their Aadhaar cards, upload their documents, e-sign them and share the documents on request.

“There are entities who are into similar business but the most suitable and more likely to come forward are those who maintain and operate data centres, and those who maintain connectivity like telecom companies. These companies naturally have an edge over others to provide digital locker services as not much has to be invested in new infrastructure,” said Ajay Kumar, additional secretary in the ministry of electronics and information technology, in an interview with Mint.

Earlier this month, the IT ministry issued an official order to the Controller of Digital Locker Authority to invite applications from interested private entities for granting them a licence to provide digital locker services.

“The application process will start very soon and once this happens we will see a flurry of activities in the dematerialization of documents. It will ensure better convenience for people, lower costs and transparency in the system,” said Kumar.

DigiLocker was launched on 1 July 2015 to enable citizens to store either an uploaded or issued document on it. The documents are issued on the digital locker by government agencies and departments who are licensed to do so.

“There will be increase in the number of services offered by digital locker once more private entities start providing services. We are creating a framework which will in turn enable both issuers and requesters to get connected,” he said.

DigiLocker and e-sign form an integral part of India Stack, built on the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity, which aims to provide cashless, paperless and presence-less service delivery.

Even though the government is inviting private entities to provide digital locker services, it has laid down strict rules and regulations for the providers.

“There are certain requirements which these entities will have to meet because of the valuable information stored by them. They will have to comply with the technical specifications of the infrastructure that needs to be set up. The financial capability of entities is scrutinized before issuing them a licence to operate as digital locker providers because in the initial stage it might not be always profitable,” said Kumar.

According to DigiLocker National Statistics, currently there are around 4.4 million registered users and around 6.6 million documents have been uploaded by them, out of which 373,282 documents have been e-signed. Till now, 24 organisations have been authorised to act as issuers.

Clearing ambiguity on the validity of the documents stored in DigiLocker, Kumar added, “If the documents have been issued on the DigiLocker by the issuer then it cannot be rejected under law.”

Last year, CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) issued the class XII result, while NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) issued the rank letter on the DigiLocker. CBSE has now mandated that all results should be issued on the digital locker.

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