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Going Paperless: The Benefits of eSignatures for Indian Businesses

Vijith Menon

Digital transformation has engulfed businesses of all sizes, from small to large. Digital technologies have become integral to providing ease of operations for businesses and generating better investment returns. By leveraging these technologies, enterprises can transform their information, processes, and people to improve their overall performance.

Digitalization presents several opportunities for businesses to scale up, enabling Indian companies to overcome uncertainties and challenges. By embracing digital technologies, companies can enhance their efficiency, productivity, and agility, which are crucial factors in today's fast-paced business environment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched eSign services in India in 2015 as part of the Digital India mission

India's digital progress is evident with the widespread availability of smartphones and high-speed connectivity. The staggering number of citizens, approximately 1.2 billion, who have signed up for Aadhaar, the government's biometric digital identity program, further exemplifies this. In addition, the Goods and Services Tax Network has successfully consolidated transactions from 10.3 million businesses onto a single digital platform, according to McKinsey.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India mission aims to transform processes and deliver good governance to citizens. eMudhra, an agency within the Government of India, is a trusted service provider that supports eSignatures on contracts, invoices, and other documents. With the rapid growth of enterprises in India due to technological advancements, electronic signatures have become a surefire way to accelerate business workflows and streamline processes.

Why are Digital Signatures Causing Debate among Indian Firms?

Digital signatures have been a subject of debate in India due to conflicting opinions on their legality and effectiveness. On the one hand, digital signatures are a convenient and secure way to authenticate electronic documents, contracts, and transactions. They save resources by eliminating the need for physical signatures and paper documents, and laws like the Information Technology Act 2000 provide a legal framework for electronic transactions.

On the other hand, digital signatures also raise concerns about signatory fraud and unauthorized signing, and there is no foolproof way to ensure their authenticity. In addition, the lack of uniformity in standards creates confusion and makes it difficult to verify their validity.

These debates have led to various legal challenges and disputes regarding using digital signatures in India. As a result, some organizations and individuals have refused to accept them as valid, while others have embraced them as a necessary and effective tool in the digital age.

The Legal Validity of Digital Signatures

Digital signatures have become increasingly important for Indian businesses, especially with the rise of remote working and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, questions remain about their legal validity and security. In this article, we address the most common concerns and provide answers to help businesses navigate the use of digital signatures.

  • Is eSignature legal in India? – Electronic signatures, or eSignatures, are legally recognized in India under Section 5 of the IT Act. As such, they are valid for signing digital documents.

  • What are legally valid eSignatures? – Legally valid electronic signatures are solutions that enable the signing of documents in a manner that meets specific requirements. These requirements include:

    • Ensuring that the eSignature is linked to the signatory who signed the document.

    • Detecting any alterations to the electronic document to protect its integrity.

    • Providing a real-time mail trail that can record any changes to the signature or the document. Additionally, the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 recognizes electronic records as admissible evidence in a court of law, solidifying the legal validity of eSignatures.

  • What documents are ineligible for eSignatures? – While eSignatures are accepted on the majority of electronic documents, they are not permitted on trust deeds, wills, power of attorney, promissory notes, and real estate contracts.

Don’t Miss to Read: How eSignatures and the Cloud Drive Digital Transformation

The Role of eSignatures in Contract Management

Contracts are crucial for formalizing agreements between enterprises, establishing strategic relationships, and increasing productivity. However, contract management can be time-consuming and challenging to maintain, which can hinder operational and financial performance. To address this challenge, eSignature solutions offer a flexible and efficient solution.

By using digital signatures, companies can streamline the contract signing process and improve collaboration, resulting in faster and more efficient contract management. Electronic signatures, also known as eSignatures, are the digital counterparts of traditional handwritten signatures. By signing documents electronically, Electronic signatures eliminate the need for physical signatures and paper documents.

Together, contract management and eSignatures streamline business operations and boost efficiency. E-Signatures facilitate quick and easy contract signing and execution without the need for physical signatures or in-person meetings. This saves time, reduces costs, improves security, and minimizes the risk of errors or fraud.

Contract management helps organizations manage contracts more effectively by providing centralized access to contract information, automating workflows, and tracking key performance indicators. This ensures that contracts are governed consistently and compliantly and that all parties involved understand their respective rights and obligations.

In summary, eSignatures play a vital role in contract management by streamlining the contract signing process, reducing costs, improving security, and minimizing the risk of errors or fraud. By leveraging eSignatures in contract management, companies can improve their operational and financial performance and increase productivity.

How do Electronic Signatures Benefit Indian Companies?

Electronic signatures offer several benefits to Indian companies, including

  • Streamlined signing process - Electronic signature workflows automate the signing process, making it simple and efficient for all parties involved. Approvals on crucial agreements can be obtained without delay, and signatures can be collected from parties while on the go, making eSignatures a portable and flexible solution.

  • Reduced document turnaround time - With the use of custom templates, Indian firms can reduce their document turnaround time and send documents between departments more quickly. This saves time and ensures that contracts are executed in a timely manner.

  • Enhanced data security - Organizations prioritize the confidentiality and security of their data, and electronic signatures utilize authentication measures such as one-time passwords (OTPs) to provide access to verified users. This ensures that the data remains secure within electronic documents.

  • Paperless processes - Companies that rely on paper-based processes can benefit from embracing eSignatures. Online digital signature solutions allow firms to move away from paper-based processes and create contracts and client agreements in a more sustainable and eco-friendly manner. By doing so, companies can reduce costs associated with printing, scanning, and shipping paper documents while minimizing their environmental footprint.

How DrySign is a Viable Solution

DrySign is a secure electronic signature platform that enables enterprises to obtain approval on important electronic documents while complying with international eSignature laws and prioritizing the security of its clients. In addition, the platform utilizes advanced security techniques to protect the integrity of documents.

Electronic signatures are legally recognized by the Indian government as a tool for signing electronic or digital documents. They legally bind and authenticate users through their digital identities, such as email addresses.

Any Doubts? Click here for electronic signature FAQs.

As India continues on its path towards digitization and aims to reduce its dependence on paper, eSignatures can help enterprises protect themselves against signature fraud and gain the consent of decision-makers even in remote settings.

Fast-track your contracts with DrySign.

Source : economictimes.indiatimes.com | mckinsey.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.

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