The ministry of electronics and IT (MEIT) had written to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last week requesting for clear directions from the banking regulator for the use of e-sign — an Aadhaar-based electronic signature mechanism developed by the government. Even though the e-sign system is fully developed and operational, many agencies have apprehensions using it since there are no explicit directions from RBI on whether it is permitted or not. What are its advantages?
- The service is being suggested as a convenient alternative for the current process of getting a digital signature, through a dongle, which is cost intensive, time consuming
- It is relatively unsafe and can be used to authenticate documents for a myriad of government services such as filing income-tax returns, availing financial and telecom services and getting different kind of certificates on the fly.
- E-sign takes away the hassle from digitally signing documents by using the real-time Aadhaar-based authentication system.
- E signing will be a much cheaper alternative to the digital signature and more convenient.
E sign frame work:
The e-sign framework has been developed by the Centre of Development for Advanced Computing (C-DAC), the government’s in-house research and development arm. Private agencies such as eMudhra and nCode Solutions are also offering e-signature facility along with C-DAC. Despite its ease of use, its uptake has been limited since many agencies such as those in the banking sector are concerned about its validity. The reason is that RBI has not said that you can’t use it, but it has also not said that you can use it. So, agencies are confused.
- Businesses are interested since, once operational, this will relieve the citizens as well as firms of the hassles of obtaining a digital signature certificate to verify their documents and could be a more authentic means to do it.
- Because of the Unique Identity number, the Unified Payment Interface, the Digital Locker and e-sign, the entire ecosystem is coming off age.
- Currently, to digitally sign a document, one has to get a pen drive or a dongle from one of the authorised service providers or get a key from one of the online agencies which is stored in the computer.
Let us wait for RBI’s early approval.