Jharkhand got its digital signature certification centre in the capital on Wednesday, a landmark technological leap for its fledgling e-governance, as the state can now guarantee tamper-proof electronic documents to establish the sender’s credibility.
Certified digital signatures have helped the developed world, including the US and Singapore, virtually make their governance paperless.
The Ranchi centre at Dhurwa’s Engineers’ Hostel, inaugurated on Wednesday by chief secretary S.K. Choudhary, is a joint venture between state information technology (IT) department, National Informatics Centre (NIC) and National Informatics Centre Certifying Authority (NICCA) Registration Authority.
State informatics officer Shahid Ahmad said they had wanted this centre for long.
“Jharkhand is bullish on e-governance, as is evident from its enthusiasm to introduce Right to Service Act and Electronic Service Delivery Act. In 2000, coincidental to the state’s birth, India, through the IT Act, gave legal status to digital documents and signatures. But establishing credibility of e-papers is vital. From now, we can do it here,” he said.
If a Jharkhand user wants a digital signature to be certified as his electronic fingerprint, he won’t have to go to Bhubaneshwar or New Delhi. He will apply to the Dhurwa centre with Rs 555 — demand drafts are accepted — and wait as authorities verify his identity.
Then, he will get an encrypted signature on a pen drive. The signature — which comes with a private user key — will be valid for two years after which it will be renewed for free.
As of now, the centre will be for the exclusive use of government and PSU officials from Mecon, Steel Authority of India, Heavy Engineering Corporation, Central Coalfields Limited and others.
Digital signatures of government officials are a must for e-governance projects such as e-procurement, e-district, instant money order, Rashtriya Suraksha Bima Yojana and others. It is also useful for filing I-T returns, giving supply orders to government agencies and signing and encrypting emails with sensitive data.
Along with e-governance, e-commerce will also get a boost. Under Electronic Delivery Service Act, receipt of forms and applications, issue or grant of any licence, permit, certificate, sanction or approval, as well as receipt or payment of public money has to be processed electronically.
If case of hacking, the user will have to file an FIR and inform the certifying centre.