You read the above header absolutely right! No need of sitting with so many files piled up in front of you and searching important files and documents, fearing that you have either lost or misplaced them forever! That is all going to be a thing of the past, as the Indian government has announced a new online cloud-based locker service, which will take care of your important documents and files.

‘DIGILocker’ is the name given to a new digital locker service being initiated by the Narendra Modi government under its ‘Digital India’ programme. This was developed and released by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and IT, Government of India. The service was first developed in February 2015, in order to provide a secure dedicated personal electronic space for storing key documents of Indian citizens. It has been running in beta for a couple of months and will be launched formally by the Prime Minister on July 1, 2015. It will be applicable to all the citizens of India.

The DIGILocker service is clear indication that the government wants to take the most documentation virtual, thus saving money and resources. This move can clearly reduce administrative overheads, time and space. It also brings about enhanced accountability and transparency and eliminates red-tape and corruption. It will minimize the use of physical documents and will provide authenticity of the e-documents with genuine digital signatures.

Most importantly, it will provide secure access to government issued documents. It also enables digital empowerment of residents by providing them with the digital locker on the cloud, thus saving sensitive data; and privacy and authorized access to residents’ data. Also, there is a secure access to government issued receipts and documents through a web portal and mobile application for the residents. The users can even see their documents and files anytime and anywhere.

The government is also launching an e-Signature service with DIGILocker. While only certain kind of digital signatures have acceptance at the moment, this move could provide a nationwide push for digital authentication of documents. It will be quite easier for the residents to receive services. Hence, it is a citizen-friendly service and there is a continuous citizen to government interaction.

It will allow users to store all kinds of government records and documents, ranging from PAN cards, Income Tax Bills, Electricity and Water Bills, Property Documents and so on. The citizens will be able to avail a maximum of 10 MB storage space, by using their Aadhaar numbers to sign up. Only pdf, jpg, jpeg, png, bmp and gif file types are allowed to be uploaded to the locker.

To Sign-up for the DIGILocker, you need to have a valid Aadhaar number registered with Aadhaar card. Type the Aadhaar number in the text box against “Enter Aadhaar Number”. You will be given two options for user authentication – “Use OTP” and “Use Fingerprint”. You can click on any one of the button. Once the Aadhaar number has been entered, a one-time password (OTP) will be sent to your registered mobile phone number to initiate the first log-in.

The same thing applies for the Fingerprint option. After Clicking on “Use Fingerprint”, users will have to put the thumbprint on the fingerprint device. If the fingerprint is valid, then the user is authenticated and taken to set username and password page to complete the sign up. After that, users would be able to set their own passwords. They can even sign in their accounts from Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and other renowned social networking services for easy access in future.

Online lockers have been around for some years now, and can securely save a variety of digital files in a virtual space. The popular ones like DropBox, Google Drive and Evernote lets you send and receive files as well. However, extra storage and services are most often paid, but not for DigiLocker. There is also a provision to save URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) of other documents. In all probability, once the service is launched, a ‘Save URI to DIGILocker’ option will appear after utility payments have been made and subsequently, getting the receipt of documents.

Each user’s digital locker has the following sections:-

  • My Certificates – This section comprises of two sub-parts – Digital Documents and Uploaded Documents. While the former contains the URI’s of the documents issued to the user by the governmental departments or other agencies, the latter lists all the documents which are uploaded by the user. Each file to be uploaded should not be more than 1 MB in size.
  • My Profile – This section displays the complete profile of the user as available in the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) database.
  • My Issuer – This section displays the issuers’ names and the number of documents issued to the user by the issuer.
  • My Requester – This section displays the requesters’ names and the number of documents requested from the user by the requesters.
  • Directories – This section displays the complete list of registered issuers and requesters along with their URLs (Uniform Resource Locators).