Vijith Menon
by
Vijith Menon

The Internet and access to real-time information have revolutionized aspects of daily life for citizens. This has been especially true for India, a country of 1.4 billion. Technology has transformed various customer-facing industries, making it convenient and easy to access for its growing digital users. The country's digital economy has soared thanks to home-grown technological developments and access to multiple platforms and applications. It will increase in size in the coming years due to the rising numbers of digital citizens, internet penetration, growth in online payments, and advanced security measures to protect citizens.


India's digital economy has grown 2.4 times faster than the Indian economy – India Today.


The digital economy has given birth to the need for digital IDs. Verifying these digital identities unlocks access to various critical services, from healthcare to government benefits. Digital IDs have a wide-reaching impact by improving quality of life and maintaining high security and privacy. It helps companies to onboard customers rapidly. When implemented correctly, it allows citizens to avoid bureaucratic hurdles and gain access to services. The Government of India launched Aadhaar in September 2010, a centralized identity framework for storing information on citizens. It was one of the first initiatives of the Digital India program under the aegis of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 'Aadhaar Card' would serve as an electronic ID for citizens and be authenticated remotely.

The Aadhaar ID number is unique for each citizen and ensures institutions trust it as an authentic source of identity verification. The digital ID legally recognizes citizens and provides access to goods and services. However, with rising cases of misuse of digital IDs, a lack of a proper mechanism for verifying a digital account has come into question. The answer was found in electronic signatures or eSignatures.


There are over 1.2 billion Aadhaar card holders in India - Statista


How eSignatures can help with Aadhaar

Signatories use an electronic signature to sign a document electronically. It holds similar power to wet signatures while adhering to laws prescribed by the Indian government. The government has made several efforts to support eSignatures on electronic contracts to transform India into a paperless economy. The move aims to encourage businesses and customers to assert their consent during an online transaction with an eSignature.

An Aadhaar-based eSign is a legally approved method of signing. To e-sign with Aadhaar, an individual must register his mobile number. And by fulfilling this essential requirement, anyone can e-sign a document irrespective of location. While signing a document, an individual needs to enter their unique Aadhaar number and an OTP that is exclusively sent to their registered mobile number for verification. Post verification, the Aadhaar sign is added to the document.

The legality of eSignatures

The Indian government recognizes eSignatures under the Information Technology Act 2000. Electronic signature technology aims at streamlining data storage, enhancing data security, and improving the ease of business. Its implementation has succeeded, with various companies using it to access services and goods.

The IT Act recognizes eSignatures that combine an Aadhaar number and a one-time password or biometric authorization. It can be used in executing certain business and commercial agreements.

In addition, the signatory must have control over the data to generate eSignature to affix them to documents. Any alterations or modifications to the signature must be witnessed in real-time.

However, you still cannot sign everything with eSignatures. Online signatures are not accepted on the following documents:

  • A power-of-attorney
  • A trust, as defined
  • A contract for the sale or conveyance of real estate.
  • A negotiable instrument
  • A will

Also Read: Tips for Businesses Embracing Digital Signatures in 2023

How Aadhaar eSignatures are Convenient and Secure

Aadhaar eSignatures can ensure all citizens can take advantage of the revolutionary technology:

  • Respects Privacy – Electronic signatures are based on the consent of individuals. Aadhaar respects the privacy of citizens and stores their information securely. The signed document can be downloaded at any time.
  • Encourages Remote Signing – It can be used on digital documents to sign them securely. Citizens need not be physically present to verify their identity and can use Aadhaar as a trusted source.
  • Supports Paperless Systems – E-signatures can be used to sign and authenticate electronic documents and bring paperless systems. Records stored digitally can prevent document forgery and red tape.

Aadhaar was used 7.8 billion times for online verification - Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)


How to Validate an Electronic Signature in Aadhaar?

  • Step 1: The authenticator must create a form containing the recipient's details, such as date of birth, gender, name, etc. If the document has multiple stakeholders, it only needs to be signed by them.
  • Step 2: There are two methods to verify identity through Aadhaar – using a one-time password (OTP) or biometrics. An OTP is used for Know Your Customer (KYC) forms. The signatory needs to verify his details and the document before he's ready to sign.
  • Step 3: The signer is redirected to an eSign service provider page like DrySign, where he authenticates his identity. Upon successful authentication, the eSignature is affixed to the document.

The Role of DrySign

DrySign, a trustworthy and reliable digital signature solution provider, can help citizens sign documents securely and authenticate their identity. Here's how DrySign provides advantages to the average citizen.

  • Keeping Digital Records :
  • DrySign helps digitize documents and store them securely in online archives. It eliminates the need for paper documents, storage facilities, and additional infrastructure to store signed documents.

  • Protects Customer Data :
  • DrySign can preserve the integrity of documents and safeguard customer information. Signed documents are protected using robust encryption methods and help gain customer trust. This helps in retaining customers and helps them be secure.

  • Shared with Multiple Parties :
  • Digital documents can be shared between multiple parties by leveraging the Group Sign feature.

  • Complete Transparency :
  • Electronic signatures can help track the progress when signing sensitive documents. A mail trail provides transparency on the details of all signers and any modifications within documents. They make all actions taken by stakeholders visible and traceable.

  • Ensures Compliance :
  • DrySign complies with global electronic signature laws in India and helps all stakeholders adhere to terms and conditions in contracts, agreements, and deals. Since the eSignature is legally binding, it can be used as evidence in a court of law in the case of disputes.

  • Be Paperless :
  • DrySign helps enterprises go paperless and controls the signing process. Notifications are sent to senders in case of viewed documents. In addition, reminders can be sent to recipients to remove any hurdles in signing.

Closing Thoughts

Aadhaar eSignatures are secure and convenient for executing contracts and agreements. It can make businesses and units highly efficient and reliable. They can promote sustainable development, weed out inefficiencies, and be a boon for businesses in the long run.

For enterprises and customers looking forward to signing documents electronically, DrySign is the way to go.

Source: statista.com | economictimes.indiatimes.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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