The Aadhaar card is a unique ID that is issued to all Indian citizens on a voluntary basis. Similar to a Social Security Number, the Aadhaar card contains information such as the holder’s name, address, signature, biometric and iris scan. It is slowly being used as the primary document to register and avail for various government schemes and subsidies such as LPG subsidy, pension plan etc.
Apart from these, the Aadhaar card can also be used for the purpose of creating a digital signature.
What is a Digital Signature?
A digital signature is a digital code that authenticates a digital document or software. A digital signature is attached to a document that requires to be validated and confirms to the recipient that the document is authentic and has not been altered in transit.
A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is issued by the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) in India. The DSC permits the holder to use a digital signature for transactions.
Aadhaar Card-Based Digital Signature
The Aadhaar card-based digital signature is an offering by which organisations can facilitate an easier process of delivery without the hassle of a physical signature. This can be integrated into their service delivery operations, through which Aadhaar card holders who have applied for a DSC can use it to digitally sign a document.
How to Apply for a DSC?
The Aadhaar-based DSC has to be applied for by submitting an application to a Certifying Authority (CA), which is licenced by the CCA.
Applicants who wish to apply for a DSC are required to submit an application mentioning their personal details. Verification of the applicant’s identity and address are mandatory for the issuance of a DSC.
The DC would be verified through the applicant’s Aadhaar e-KYC (Know Your Customer) details.
A copy of the DSC would be stored in a hardware cryptographic token, which is to be issued to the applicant.
Currently, CCA has tied up with e-Mudhra, a Bangalore-based firm, to issue DSC through its eSign and eAuth services.
How Does it Work?
The DSC would be issued to the concerned entity once the CCA verifies the identity an address of the holder. A token would then be issued, which contains the DSC. The holder would be able to use the digital signature to sign the document.
Features and Benefits of DSC
A digital signature certificate has a number of features and benefits over the traditional signature, which are listed below:
- Saves time- the DSC is a quick and efficient way to authenticate and authorise a document.
- Legally recognised- an e-signature is recognised as legal under law.
- Mandatory Aadhaar card- the chance of misuse of the signature is eliminated as the holder will have to produce Aadhaar proof, guaranteeing his/her identity through the biometric.
- OTP based authentication- the authentication for the DSC is done through OTP (One Time Password) or through biometrics, assuring security and safety.
- Secure service- the service is governed by guidelines that guarantee that the process is secure. The signer’s authentication is done through Aadhaar e-KYC, and the actual signature is done through a secure third party provider.
How Can Apply for DSC?
The DSC facility has been designed to cater to businesses and government bodies and can be used to cut down on their reliance on paper-based forms or documents. Instead, the DSC can be integrated with their delivery systems and software applications to ensure a seamless and secure method to authenticate and validate documents.
The Aadhaar-based Digital Signature is thus a safe and hassle free way for entities to streamline their service delivery operations while ensuring the security of the holder’s identity.