Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech for 2023-24, announced the government’s plan to expand the scope of services in DigiLocker.
“A one stop solution for reconciliation and updating of identity and address of individuals maintained by various government agencies, regulators and regulated entities will be established using DigiLocker service and Aadhaar as foundational identity,” the minister said in her speech.
The expanded purview of DigiLocker will help streamline the citizens know-your-customer formalities such that they will need to do these formalities only once and it can be later used to authenticate for other services as well.
What is DigiLocker?
Launched in 2015, DigiLocker is a key initiative under the government’s vision of Digital India. The flagship program aims to make India go paperless while providing a “secure document access platform on a public cloud.”
Competing with the likes of SafeBase, DocStorer and similar others, DigiLocker is Ministry of Electronics Information and Technology’s (MeitY) initiative to offer a cloud platform for issuance and verification of documents and certificates in a digital way, thus, eliminating the use of physical documents. The documents that are available via Digital Locker are to be treated at par with original physical documents. Only those with Aadhaar card can use the DigiLocker services. DigiLocker crossed 100 million userbase last year.
The cloud storage platform can be used to store all kinds of critical verification documents like educational certificates, government IDs, vehicle registration certificate and more.
How to use DigiLocker?
To set up your DigiLocker, you should have an Aadhaar card. To sign up for the service, you need to have your Aadhaar number or your phone number linked to your Aadhaar.
Go to the Google Play Store app and download the DigiLocker app. Follow the instructions to set up the service and secure it using a 6-digit PIN. Do the OTP authentication and it’s done. It will now automatically fetch all your Aadhaar-related information. You can have a digital access of all your documents in DigiLocker after they have scanned and saved them on the storage platform.
What is changing in DigiLocker now?
The government is expanding the purview of DigiLocker services and sharing the services for MSMEs, startups and other business entities.
The budget report 2023-2024 reads that a system of ‘Unified Filing Process’ will be set-up to eliminate the need for separate submission of same information. “Such filing of information or return in simplified forms on a common portal, will be shared with other agencies as per filer’s choice.”
For the business entities that require to have a Permanent Account Number (PAN), the PAN will be used as the common identifier for all digital systems of specified government agencies.