In a quest to become digitally ahead of all the other civic councils in India, the Rahuri Municipal Council of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra has become the first-ever council to adopt a digital locker or ‘DigiLocker’ for the issuance of all essential documents.
With this digital integration, Rahuri Municipal Council will minimise the use of physical documents and facilitate sharing of e-documents across agencies. For example, citizens can now apply for certificates like birth, marriage and death online without physically visiting the municipal council. These documents will be available in an online format in the DigiLocker.
Encouraged by the council’s initiative, Union Minister for Telecom Ravi Shankar Prasad has called upon civic bodies all around the country to follow Rahuri in expediting the process of digital governance.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the DigiLocker scheme (for individuals and other entities) under the Digital India Programme in October 2015. More than 21 lakh documents have been uploaded to the digital locker so far, and 51,72,737 digital documents have been issued.
How DigiLocker works
With the help of the DigiLocker portal, the sharing of e-documents can be done through registered repositories, thereby ensuring the authenticity of the online documents. Residents can also upload their own electronic documents and digitally sign them using the e-sign facility. These digitally signed documents can be shared with government organisations or other entities and can be accessed in real time by registered users.
The access gateway facilitated by DigiLocker provides a secure online mechanism for requesters to access e-documents from various repositories in real-time, using an e-document URI (Uniform Resource Indicator). The URI is a link to the e-document uploaded by an issuer in a repository.
The gateway will identify the address of the repository where the e-document is stored based on the URI and will fetch the e-document from that repository.
The DigiLocker is one of the key initiatives under the Digital India Programme. The storage space (maximum 1GB) is linked to the user’s Aadhaar number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India.
The idea is to minimise the need for physical documents. If your birth and education certificates are online, and you apply for a passport, then the Passport Office can use your Aadhaar number to request the DigiLocker for your details, without your needing to physically carry a large file of documents along with the application. Or, the RTO can issue your Driver's Licence directly to your DigiLocker, based on your Aadhaar information alone. This way, if you need to send your new licence to any agency for verification, you’ll have an online, authenticated version available whenever you need it. There’s also an e-signature facility available with the DigiLocker which can be used when documents have to be self-attested.
A safe option
The government has also ensured that your e-documents remain safe from hackers. The one-time password (OTP) that unlocks your DigiLocker account gets erased immediately after use. Again, the information is secure because the data gets stored within India and you are protected under the Information Technology Act, 2000 — unlike facilities like DropBox or Google Drive, where the data is governed by US regulations.
A few easy steps
Once you have registered, you can start uploading documents under the ‘My certificates’ section.
Step 1: Select a document type. You’ll have options such as SSC Certificate, HSC Certificate, PAN card, Voter ID card, etc., in a drop-down list.
Step 2: You are allowed to provide a name for the document.
Step 3: Fill in some details related to the document being uploaded.
Step 4: Choose the file from your local machine. It should not be more than 1MB in size and only in .pdf, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .bmp or .gif formats.
Step 5: Provide a short description of the document in 50 characters.
Step 6: Click the ‘upload’ button. The document should now appear under the ‘Uploaded Documents’ sub-section.