V Srinivasan

Mr. Srinivasan is the Founder Chairman of eMudhra Limited. He has also served as Managing Director and global CEO of a MNC IT company with revenues of $500 million.

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Why India Absolutely Needs Digital Signatures

This is dedicated to everyone who went through too many hassles because digital signatures are still considered with a wary eye.

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I have always despised visits to my bank for those simple transactions that can be easily done through the app. In India, even though we are pushing to digitize all transactions, I still can’t open/close my bank account without my physical presence for a signature. With the availability of digital signatures in India, the need to still be physically present to validate my signatures is similar to holding a smartphone and making all my calls from the phone booth.

In the simplest terms, digital signature is a legally valid electronic fingerprint substituting wet signature. It allows digital authentication of documents which otherwise would have to be needlessly printed out and physically signed. This reduces the time, money and efforts invested in doing voluminous paperwork. Digital signature, unlike its physical counterpart cannot be extracted, copied or stored. It is legally valid and non-repudiated in the Indian court of law.

According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global digital signature market will be worth 2.6 billion dollars by 2021, almost a four-fold increase from last year. In India, adoption of digital signatures is on a steady rise. In fact, central and state governments like Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have already started using digital signatures to expedite all process.

Presently, India is bullish on showcasing itself at par with its global counterparts with various initiatives like Digital India, India Stack and DigiLocker. Such initiatives have helped India grow into an almost cashless economy and at the same time reduce our dependency on paper. Though India has started appreciating digital signatures and its numerous pros, the country is still far from embracing it on a larger scale. I have listed below a few points which states that it is high time for India to realize the importance of digital signatures and make it a norm.

Digital Signatures for a paperless India

Digital signatures play a crucial part in pushing India towards being a paperless country. Paper based documents are vulnerable to being misplaced or damaged. With digital signatures, documents can be easily shared with different hierarchy levels for approval within no time and once these documents are signed, they can be stored digitally. This enables easy access to the required documents from anywhere, at any given time and also reduces the need for storage infrastructure.

Moreover, digitally stored documents drastically reduce the time for manually searching a document thus enhancing the productivity and profitability of any entity.

Digital Signatures to reduce carbon footprint

The paper consumption in India is a whopping 13 million tons. This number can be lowered significantly by integrating paperless solutions to avoid the unnecessary printing of papers resulting in reduction of India’s carbon footprint.

Digital Signatures improves ease of doing business

In a recent World Bank report titled ‘Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All’, getting a digital signature is the first and most important parameter to rate countries for setting up operations in India. Encouraging adoption of digital signatures will help to elevate India’s rankings. The government is in touch with companies providing digital signatures to be able to accelerate this process to improve its global standings.

To make our Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digital India’ a reality, it’s time for us to adopt digital signatures without skepticism and make it a truly digital nation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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