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DigiLocker is one of many initiatives by Government of India in furthering the Digital India initiatives. Primarily a DigiLocker is a digital repository which helps you store important documents (like Aadhaar, mark sheets CBSE, ICSE, ISC, Driving License, Registration certificate, gas connection copy etc) from 36 different issuers in a cloud-based application for safe and easy accessibility and shareability.

It helps in issuance, verification of documents and certificates digitally. After you open an account, DigiLocker will keep your documents safe after the required verification based on Aadhaar OTP. With Digilocker you can access your stored documents anytime from anywhere, share documents digitally to institutions /requestors for verification and also digitally sign the documents ( self-attestation).

How To Open A DigiLocker

An account can be opened by accessing website or through the Android app store. Work for an iOS app is underway as well. You need to have a mobile phone handy to register yourself as all the related OTPs for verification process will be sent to your mobile number.

DigiLocker is increasingly being used by various entities including the tech-savvy millennials and government and private sector-based issuers and requesters. A big benefit of having a DigiLocker is that it ensures safety for a customer by sharing documents from issuer to requester only after a proper consent and some of the documents like Aadhaar, Driver's License, Gas connection subscription records can be pulled from source.

Issuers like ministries, government departments and business/ private entities provide your identity to the database /records and directly issue documents after verification ( without any human intervention). Requesters, mostly banks, FI's, companies and government can raise a request to receive documents from your digi-vault with your consent to provide you instant services or products which are dependent on KYC and other proofs.

Once you create a DigiLocker account, you can see the full list of 36 issuers and 15 requesters (presently) by clicking on the respective heads.

Benefits of DigiLocker

The most important aspect of the DigiLocker is that it can be accessed round the clock from anywhere in the world while ensuring the safety of the document. The copies of original documents and certificates can now be kept digitally and some of the certificates like a Driving License, Registration Certificate, mark sheets need not be copied and kept physically because whenever you need them, the signed copies can be retrieved from source making them authentic and verified records copies of the certificates. Many consider this to be a great step towards being a digital and paperless economy.

It would also make the process of verification easier and simple. For example, your CBSE migration certificates and mark sheets can be directly issued in your DigiLocker if you have attended a CBSE school. These documents provided directly by an issuing authority don't need further verification when you share them.

Another remarkable feature of DigiLocker is Aadhaar based e-Signature. The process of self-attestation has taken a digital shape with e-signatures getting a legal status. Aadhaar-based e-Signature via DigiLockers are free and you can self-attest them electronically when you share them.

DigiLocker enables users to store and share caste certificates, educational certificates, driving licences and Aadhaar. However, what may be required in the coming days will be storage of income tax returns, indirect tax chalans, TDS records and bank transactions.

This would fasten the move towards a paperless economy which benefits all, be it the government or individuals or businesses. However, DigiLocker facility is only available to Indian residents and not available for the NRIs as of now.

(The author is the General Counsel and Head of Compliance at BankBazaar. Views expressed in the article are personal.)