1. Aadhaar card based EPFO e-sign feature: Here is how users benefit; all you need to know

Aadhaar card based EPFO e-sign feature: Here is how users benefit; all you need to know

As part of the Digital India initiative, the EPFO has introduced various digital services such as online registration of establishments, online transfer of balance and Know Your Customer (KYC) validation of employees.

By: | Published: October 18, 2017 2:58 AM
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has launched free Aadhaar-based e-sign facility for employer’s provident fund portal for signing documents digitally in addition to the Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) facility.

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has launched free Aadhaar-based e-sign facility for employer’s provident fund portal for signing documents digitally in addition to the Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) facility. The Aadhaar-based e-sign facility has been introduced as many employers were facing multiple difficulties in using the already available DSC facility. As part of the Digital India initiative, the EPFO has introduced various digital services such as online registration of establishments, online transfer of balance and Know Your Customer (KYC) validation of employees. In order to digitally sign the documents uploaded on the Provident Fund portal, the only option available earlier was to use the DSC of the authorised signatory of the employer.

Electronic form

A DSC is an electronic form of physical or paper certificate such as driver’s licence, passport, etc., which can be used to prove the identity of the sender of the message and that the original message has not been altered. DSC can also be used to access online information, online services or to sign documents digitally. The Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA), Government of India, through licensed Certifying Authorities, such as eMudhra, NIC, TCS, MTNL, n-code, etc., can issue DSC. A physical hard copy application along with relevant proof of identify and address of the individual needs to be submitted along with a fee with the Certifying Authority to purchase and obtain DSC. Upon validation, the Certifying Authority issues a DSC of the individual in a soft token (stored in a soft copy format in the computer) or in a USB token (stored in a USB drive or smart card). To use the DSC facility on the Provident Fund portal, an employer needs to do the following:

1. Purchase and obtain DSC for each of its authorised signatory from the Certifying Authority as mentioned above

2. Register the DSC on the Provident Fund portal

3. Download specific softwares (such as Java, drivers for USB token/ soft token)

4. Set specific browser settings in the computer accessing the Provident Fund portal

5. Develop technical skills on how to use the DSC on the Provident Fund portal and troubleshooting in case of any error.

Specific software

As there were specific software and browser settings required to use the DSC facility, many employers were facing multiple difficulties in using the DSC facility and were unable to properly use the digital services of the EPFO. Further, there is a fee to purchase and obtain DSC. As an alternative, the EPFO has now launched free Aadhaar-based e-sign facility to ease the process of signing documents digitally. The Aadhaar-based e-sign facility does not require any specific software or browser settings to use the facility. Once the authorised signatory of the employer is registered for Aadhaar-based e-sign, the documents can be signed digitally by using the one time pin (OTP) sent on the mobile registered with Aadhaar of the authorised signatory of the employer.

To use the new e-sign facility on the Provident Fund portal, the Aadhaar of the authorised signatory of the employer needs to be registered on the Provident Fund portal. For employers, where DSC of the authorised signatory is already registered, the Aadhaar-based e-sign facility can be activated by providing Aadhaar of the authorised signatory, name (as per Aadhaar), designation, gender and date of birth (as per Aadhaar) on the Provident Fund portal. An OTP will be sent to the mobile number registered with Aadhaar of the authorised signatory. On submission of the OTP, Aadhaar-based e-sign will be registered and ready to use.

The writer is director, People Advisory Services, EY

  1. R
    Reader
    Oct 18, 2017 at 7:42 am
    A centralized and inter-linked biometric database like Aadhaar will lead to profiling and self-censorship, endangering freedom. Personal data gathered under the Aadhaar program is prone to misuse and surveillance. Aadhaar project has created a vulnerability to identi-ty fraud, even identi-ty theft. Easy harvesting of biometrics traits and publicly-available Aadhaar numbers increase the risk of impersonation, especially online and banking fraud. Centralized databases can be hacked. Biometrics can be cloned, copied and reused. Thus, BIOMETRICS CAN BE FAKED. High-resolution cameras can capture your fingerprints and iris information from a distance. Every eye hospital will have iris images of its patients. So another person can clone your fingerprints and iris images without your knowledge, and the same can be used for authentication. If the Aadhaar scheme is NOT STOPPED by the Supreme Court, the biometric features of Indians will soon be cloned, misused, and even traded.
    Reply
    1. R
      Reader
      Oct 18, 2017 at 7:42 am
      UK’s Biometric ID Database was dismantled. Why the United Kingdom's biometrics-linked National Identi-ty Card project to create a centralized register of sensitive information about residents similar to Aadhaar was scrapped in 2010?? The reasons were the massive threat posed to the privacy of people, the possibility of a surveillance state, the dangers of maintaining such a huge centralized repository of personal information, and the purposes it could be used for, and the dangers of such a centralized database being hacked. The other reasons were the unreliability of such a large-scale biometric verification processes, and the ethics of using biometric identification.
      Reply
      1. R
        Reader
        Oct 18, 2017 at 7:41 am
        The US Social Security Number (SSN) card has NO BIOMETRIC DETAILS, no photograph, no physical description and no birth date. All it does is confirm that a particular number has been issued to a particular name. Instead, a driving license or state ID card is used as an identification for adults. The US government DOES NOT collect the biometric details of its own citizens for the purpose of issuing Social Security Number. The US collects the fingerprints of only those citizens who are involved in any criminal activity (it has nothing to do with SSN), and the citizens of other countries who come to the US.
        Reply

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