DigiLocker,Digital India,digital documents

Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have issued the most digital documents to their citizens under the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) flagship paperless governance programme, although the scheme, which provides important documents, including educational degrees, marriage registration testimonies, driving licences and vehicle registration certificates to citizens through digital lockers has received a tepid response from Gujarat, Goa, Rajasthan, West Bangal, Tripura, Jammu & Kashmir, Puducherry and the northeastern states.

The DigiLocker is an initiative of the NDA government launched in July 2015 as a part of Digital India campaign; it is used by state education boards, revenue departments, transport and district authorities for issuing various documents to citizens including, caste and income certificates.

It emerges that government departments of Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tripura, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland have not yet issued a single paperless certificate to their citizens under the scheme, according to a government document reviewed by Hindustan Times.

Read: Transport ministry issues SOP for e-Challans

An official in the ministry of electronics and information technology said that it could be possible that some states would have issued digital certificates in their own servers. “We are in process of integrating eDistrict services — land records services, PDS [public distribution system] etc,” said the official who did not wish to be named. State government departments of Goa and Arunachal Pradesh are laggards, having so far issued 12,156 and 4,841 certificates respectively to their citizens, the document shows.

Some states have achieved success in issuing e-certificates. Maharashtra tops the list with a 128.5 million documents, including certificates related to birth, death, income, caste, marriage and education, issued by local authorities and school examination boards. Uttar Pradesh is second-best with a little over 100 million digital certificates issued.

Also read: Online v/s offline learning: Which option is better for personalised learning

PwC India regional managing partner Neel Ratan said the concept would become popular when more and more documents would be enabled to get into digital lockers. “It also depends on the usage, that is, number of time the locker is used. This is a unique concept, and time for that has come,” he said.

The relevance of this digital initiative will increase if government agencies such as traffic police start accepting e-verification of documents. It is safer compared to photocopies of identity proofs submitted to vendors for mobile connections. While digital verification is a one-time process, photocopies of certificates remain with vendors for ever that can be misused, he said.

Karnataka has issued 73.8 million certificates.

Digital locker, a cloud-based platform, provides free services to the citizen.

Citizens can also safely keep all documents and certificates in the digital locker that they access anytime from any location. It provides access to educational documents, Aadhaar, permanent account number (PAN), driving licence, vehicle registration certificate, land records, ration cards and certificates pertaining to income, caste, birth and marriage, officials said. DigiLocker was launched with an objective to enable on demand service delivery to citizens along with a dedicated storage space.

Also read: Mapping the growth of digital learning in India

“To boost the usage of DigiLocker, one of the measures that the government can look at is allowing a provision for state government departments to upload and store certificates/documents. This would ensure that authentic documents and data are available for the respective departments to verify and use as necessary. This is what we call ‘Certificate-Less Governance’, wherein requirement of producing a physical certificate by a citizen can be done away with as authentic certificates and documents would be available at a central repository,” said Milan Narendra, Partner – Government and Public Sector, Advisory Services, EY India.