Digital signatures get easy with CDAC push

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Pune Mirror
August 31, 2016

E-Hastakshar will let citizens sign documents without a dongle from certifying authorities

It will soon be possible for Indians to get their certificates and documents signed digitally with ease. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing's (CDAC) e-Hastakshar will enable citizens to digitally sign PDF files of their documents, thus saving time and unnecessary harassment that one usually faces while queuing up to get signatures of authorities, and reduce the burden of carrying physical documents around all the time. This system will eliminate the current requirement of going to a certifying body for authenticating documents and being able to sign digitally only after receiving a dongle.

At present, a digital signature certificate can be obtained from certifying authorities which can take anywhere between 3 and 7 days. Central and state government employees, along with employees of companies that have integrated with CDAC, stand to benefit from the service immediately.

"Certifying authorities supply digital signature certificates in a dongle and this can become cumbersome. e- Hastakshar will be available easily and at a lower cost. This development is in line with the government's aim of going digital," said Rajat Moona, director general, CDAC.

He added, "If someone wants to apply for a driving licence or file income tax returns, the Aadhaar card number needs to be entered following which a one-time-password (OTP) will be sent to the user after the Unique Identification Number is verified. This takes less time, and approximately 1,000 of them can be done on a daily basis, when operational."

"Central government employees can make use of it for using the appraisal system developed by the National Informatics Centre. Signatures of employees, reporting officers and supervisors can all be obtained online, making the process paperless and less timeconsuming. Digital signatures are legally accepted," said Moona.

Hemant Darbari, executive director, CDAC, said, "The application seeks to make it convenient for users. At an individual level, the cost of a dongle can range from Rs 800 to Rs 1200, whereas e-Hastakshar will not cost more than Rs 10."

"This is a neat method of going paperless, the service will be free for the government but private companies will be charged. Within organisations, records can be maintained in a digital locker," he added.

NSubramaniam, associate director of R&D, CDAC, said, "The application will be instant as compared to the traditional system. This process will eliminate manual-level intervention - when documents are uploaded only the mathematical representative of the document and Aadhaar card number will be received by CDAC. Since the Aadhaar card is required, the Unique Identification Authority of India will always be in the loop to maintain authenticity and ensure verification."

Sonali Jagtap, a resident of Karve Road who works in a multinational company, said, "I had used my superiors' dongle for a statutory document earlier. But, the dongle is a liability, as one needs to carry it around. It will be easier if it is eliminated."

Minister of state P P Chaudhary will inaugurate e-Hastakshar on September 2.

E-Hastakshar will be available easily and at a lower cost. This development is in line with the government's aim of going digital