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A number of nationally important e-Governance initiatives have already been embarked upon by the Government. Large-scale adoption of Digital Signatures will be one of the key success factors in these initiatives, as they will rely on Digital Signatures for their authentication requirements. Several Training programs for different user segments have been conducted nation-wide.
Below listed are few examples of usage of digital signatures in India.
Income Tax e-filing
A Digital Signature Certificate lets you file your Tax Returns easier and more secure. According to revised provisions under section 44AB of IT Act "E-Filing is mandatory for all the individuals/professionals having an annual gross receipt of INR 25 Lakhs and above, and for business houses with annual turnover of INR 1 Crore and above.
For individuals businesses not covered by the latest mandate, a Digital Signature Certificate assures greater convenience while filing tax returns, and greater security during any electronic transactions.
MCA
A Digital Signature Certificate helps make light work of various transactions related to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, or Registrar of Companies. In addition to saving time, a Digital Signature Certificate also helps secure data. Any organization or firm can apply for a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) for transactions involving the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. However, business houses that exceed revenues of over INR 60 lakhs have to mandatorily use a Digital Signature Certificate while filing returns. Under the provisions of law, a Digital Signature is considered as a legally admissible instrument.
There are various types of Digital Signature Certificates that cater to specific needs. While eFiling on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs portal, a Digital Signature Certificate of Class 2 and Class 3 category is required. A Class 2 Digital Signature Certificate is available for download after verification based on a trusted and pre-verified database.
eProcurement is an online tender processing system for the state government departments. More than 1000 tenders published so far. The Digital Signatures are being used both by the vendors and government officials for tender submission and processing. The vendors/traders are using it for applying tenders online, while the government officials are using it at time of opening the tenders and during finalizing of the tenders.
Voters List Preparation – The State Election Commission has issued a GO that the field data along with the photo ID will be digitized and the same will be digitally signed assuring the correctness of data.
The DSC will be used to counter verify the digitized data of voters list and the photo ID. This can be used by other applications such as eDistrict for online verification of citizen details.
Online Counseling for admission to more than 1 lakh seats of Engineering, Medical, Polytechnic & B.Ed. courses. The Digital Signatures are being used by the Counseling In-charge for document verification, fee submission, registration & for choice locking opted by the candidates which are finally locked by the invigilators using DSC. Class II DSC are being used for these activities In case of any modification in the student record, the same can be carried out only through digital signatures in order to ensure the same is recorded in the database.
eDistrict – implemented in six pilot districts. More than 18 lakh Digitally Signed Certificates/ Service already delivered to citizens. Digital Signatures are being used for electronically signing the Certificates being issued through eDistrict Centres / CSCs etc The approving authority puts his Digital Signatures at the time of approving the certificate and the related information is printed on the certificate also. This not only ensures that the details of the signing authority is displayed, even the DSC of the signatory can be verified over the Internet.
IRCTC
IRCTC has facilitated online ticketing for RTSA agents and IATA approved agents. With this new technology, using Digital Signature Certificates, agents registered with IRCTC will be able to issue Railway tickets from the comfort of their homes. This will ensure speedy and secure business giving it a 24X7 dimension.
DGFT
Export and Import Organizations (EXIM organizations) can apply for licenses online which means that they can also file accompanying documents electronically on the DGFT website. Since a Digital Signature Certificate ensures authenticity of the document, DGFT has mandated use of Digital Signature Certificates with all electronic documents uploaded on the DGFT site. This means that every EXIM Organization needs to necessarily have a Digital Signature Certificate for transactions related to the DGFT website. On validating the identity of the sender, authenticity of the documents and validity of the DSC, DGFT then processes the documents for license issuance. In addition to convenience, online submission of applications on the DGFT website also mean a 50% reduction in license fee for EXIM Organizations.
Organizations can prevent fraudulent practices such as identity thefts by filing bills of entry using a Digital Signature Certificate. If an organization is filing documents through Custom House Agents, it is important that all documents filed are accompanied by a DSC.
A Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate is essential for any organization seeking an Import or an Export License that needs to be registered in the name of one representative authorized to represent the organization.
Since a Digital Signature Certificate is recognized by the legal system, all documents submitted using a Digital Signature Certificate is considered on par with physically signed documents, and also attract benefits endowed upon them through the Indian Information Technology Act 2000.