Having issued Aadhaar cards to a majority of the Indian population, the Indian government now wants to make the best use of them.
Back in November 2014, the government had proposed a ‘Digital locker’ concept. The locker, it was proposed, would be linked to the Aadhaar card of citizens and would then enable them to store all their government issued documents (right from birth certificate to degrees) on the cloud storage system. The documents thus stored in the digital format can be accessed by the users of the facility by using their Aadhaar numbers.
The department of electronics and information technology has now rolled out a beta version of the ‘digital locker’ which is being labeled as one of the most ambitious aspects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India programme.
To use the digital locker, users need to create an account at its website using their Aadhaar card, or unique identification (UID), number.
The ultimate aim of the digital locker scheme is to place all educational, medical, passport and PAN card details of every Indian in a digital form over a cloud storage system so that he can access them all from anywhere in the world without having to carry all the documents physically.
The service has been rolled out only in the beta version so far and before the government goes ahead with the final implementation of it, they hope to invite public feedback on the concept and its implementation. The department of electronics and information technology (DeitY) has invited comments from users on the government’s idea crowdsourcing platform myGov.in.
Doubts had been raised about the security of the documents thus stored but R.S. Sharma, secretary, department of electronics and IT, assures that the system is totally safe.
A senior C-DAC official who has been involved in carrying the project further said that the security concerns should not be a hindrance. Assuring that the safety option features data encryption of the highest level, there would be no threat to the confidentiality or the safety of the data so stored. The data will be protected by a One-Time Password, which will be sent to the user’s mobile via an sms every time he tries to log in to his digital locker, much in the same manner as an online banking transaction at present. There is no issue of government scrutiny because the certificates stored are issued by the government departments, he assured.
The Maharashtra government has taken the lead in this regard and has introduced the “Maha Digital Locker”. Anyone in the state of Maharashtra who has an Aadhar card can use the e-locker facility by logging in on elocker.maharashtra.gov.in.
Whenever a person will apply for a document or a certificate at any SETU (project) office, a copy of it will be uploaded by the Gram Panchayat, Tehsil or collectorate office, said Virendra Singh, Director of IT department of the State Secretariat.
How To Use Digital Locker
You can start using the digital locker immediately – First login to their site http://digitallocker.gov.in/. It will ask you for Aadhaar number along with captcha. Once you enter the number, your registered mobile number and email ID will get a One Time Password.
Enter the OTP and you can see following dashboard, through which you will be able to upload your documents. You can choose from the list of documents through the drop-down menu available.
We successfully uploaded our PAN card. Interestingly, you can directly share your documents from your to any email address that you want. You can also e-sign the uploaded document which will in future be used as official digital signature on documents.
Over all, we think it is a great move to introduce Digital locker. It is sure to help millions of Indians to keep all their documents safe.
Restriction of 10mb for All Documents
The biggest negative aspect of Digital locker is that it offer only 10mb space for all your documents. This is too limiting and will be difficult to accommodate all documents in such less space.
The Digital locker uses the same security that all banks use for internet banking. They use your registered mobile number and email address to send you OTP. That is the only way you can gain access to digital locker.
No Integration Between Central Govt & State Govt Digital Locker
It is not clear how the State Govt and Central Govt digital lockers will integrate with each other. When we tried using the Digital locker rolled out by Central Govt, we were able to successfully upload our documents and certificates (see above screenshot, we have uploaded the PAN Card.). However, when we logged into Maharashtra Digital Locker system, the same uploaded certificates were not seen. We had to go through entire process all over again.
Maharashtra State Digital Locker system also has 10MB space limitation, but they have an extra layer of security, where they also ask for a PIN number in addition to OTP.
We will be testing out the system over next few days and get back to you with more details.