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February 24, 2023
Digilocker, as simple as it sounds, is a cloud-based digital platform for the storage, issuance, and verification of documents and certificates in India. It’s an initiative by the Government of India under the “Digital India” program aimed at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The recently unveiled budget for the financial year 2023–2024 also highlighted the advantages of DigiLocker already in place as well as the suggested adjustments.
It possesses distinguishing features like secured storage and a digital repository for citizens to store and easy access of their documents, with an integrated digital signature enabling the signing of electronic documents. Access to these documents are also easy and convenient, with anywhere, anytime availability, eliminating the need to carry their physical copies. This platform is also accessible through a web-based interface or mobile app and is aimed at reducing the use of physical documents, thereby saving time and eliminating risk of fraud and tampering.
A few rules have been put in place to keep this platform under control, aiming to ensure the secure and responsible use of DigiLocker and protect the privacy and personal information of users. These primarily include the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits, and Services) Act of 2016, the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules of 2011, the Right to Information Act of 2005, and the Electronic Records Management Rules of 2012.
In order to assist developments in the fintech sector and add to programs like the PM Jan Dhan Yojana, Video KYC, India Stack, and UPI, it is also suggested that the scope of documents being available in DigiLocker be increased. For instance, 10 MB files in the PDF, JPEG, and PNG formats are the maximum file size now allowed for upload, but recent revisions would allow individuals and small organizations to keep larger documents. The Master Direction for Know Your Customer (KYC), 2016 mandates “Regulated Entities” to comply with KYC obligations, including Fintech. However, amidst the rushing procedures of instant account openings or loan disbursals, Fintech fail to perform full KYC and instead choose to perform partial KYC merely based on the user’s mobile number. This is mainly due to the time constraints involved in performing full KYC, which would defeat the main purpose of fintech operations.
There have been discussions about other challenges as well, like the fact that many institutions and government agencies have not yet fully adopted DigiLocker. This may limit its applicability to some users, while others may encounter technical issues like slow loading times or issues with document uploads. Additionally, there are concerns regarding the security of the personal data saved on the platform, even if it offers secure storage for digital documents. To solve these problems, they have to implement standardized features and a digital infrastructure.