Adding yet another feather to Narendra Modi's Digital India cap, the government has integrated the vehicle registration system with the previously launched DigiLocker online portal. The initiative will digitise driving licences, allowing users to carry a soft copy on the government-backed mobile application, instead of physical ones.
Launched by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) in February 2015, DigiLocker is an Aadhaar-based e-locker service. The platform was beta-tested last year and is set to go full-fledged, following the latest announcement. With the aim of “paperless governance”, the facility enables users to get government documents issued and verified via the internet. The cloud storage space is linked to the user's Aadhaar number to ease the authenticating burden on the government.
The platform is loaded with features that make issuance, storage, retrieval and verification of documents easier for officials and citizens. The government has also stated that public officials will be given corresponding applications for spot verification of the e-documents.
Features of the application include an eSign facility (similar to the process of self-attestation), 1GB cloud storage space and the ability to share documents with registered agency and departments. eSign is an online electronic signature to facilitate an Aadhaar holder to digitally sign a document.
Documents that can be stored on the platform include SSC/HSC/degree certificates, government ID card, PAN card, voter ID card, ration card, passport, driving licence, electricity/water/telephone bills, rent receipts and residence certificates. Electronic copies of documents and certificates can be either uploaded by users themselves or be pushed directly into the citizen's lockers by organisations that are registered with DigiLocker. Users can also upload scanned copies of their legacy documents in their accounts.
Stakeholders of the facility are divided into three categories: Issuers, requesters and residents. Issuers are bodies that issue the e-document compatible for the locker (CBSE, registrar's office, income tax department, etc); bodies that request access to a particular e-document are the requesters (employers, universities, passport office, regional transport office); and residents are the users who store their documents.
The platform also comes with security features such as a 256-bit secure socket layer encryption for information transmitted via the portal, mobile authentication signup, a timed logout and assurances that the facility will be routinely security-audited. With the integration of the vehicle registration system, there have also been promises of ramping up the security features. Despite claims of the platform being safe and intrusion-free, security concerns have been raised and technical experts are still sceptical of the privacy of the documents in a government-based facility.
The application is available on the Android Play Store for now, although since the facility involves sensitive data, one should make sure that only the DeitY-promoted app is downloaded. Numerous unscrupulous developers have launched apps with the same name, using the government's symbol and Narendra Modi's image, to con users into submitting confidential documents that can be misused later. The official DigiLocker currently has over 21 lakh registered users.