Digital lockers: Govt starts licensing private players, govt agencies

Nearly two years after DigiLocker was launched in July 2015, the Centre has issued norms to let private players to obtain licenses that would allow them to operate digital lockers.

Written by Pranav Mukul | New Delhi | Published:March 15, 2017 3:49 am

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has started the process of licensing private players and other government agencies to operate digital lockers for storage of various documents issued by the government and its bodies. Till now, only the government-operated digital locker is available for storing important documents, using Aadhaar identification to log in. According to the latest data, the government-operated DigiLocker had 47.72 lakh users, with a repository of more than 67 lakh documents.

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Nearly two years after DigiLocker was launched in July 2015, the Centre has issued norms to let private players to obtain licenses that would allow them to operate digital lockers.

The applicant company should have minimum Rs 5 crore in paid-up capital, and a minimum net-worth of Rs 50 crore. Furthermore, equity stake of NRIs, FIIs or foreign companies in the entity should not exceed 49 per cent of its total capital.

The applications for licenses would be submitted to the Digital Locker Authority, which the Centre set up in July 2016, to administer and manage the Digital Locker initiative.

Post application by potential Digital Locker Service Providers, their services would be tested for quality and certified, after which an audit of the applicant’s infrastructure would be conducted before issuing the license.

When the government first proposed the idea to open up the service to private players a year back, the move raised a number of security concerns. Experts have suggested that telecom companies are likely to apply for the license to become digital locker service providers considering the number of documents collected by these operators while onboarding of new customers. The government has already allowed telecom companies to accept electronic customer acquisition forms.

To tackle these concerns, the IT ministry had issued norms for a private digital locker service provider. As per the norms, the service provider would have to get its operations, including its security policy, audited every year by an independent auditor.

The ministry had also mandated that access to confidential information by the employees of the service provider shall be on a “need-to-know” and “need-to-use” basis. The process of maintaining this confidentiality of information would to be included in the Digital Locker Practise Statement issued by the service provider.

The licenses would allow private digital locker service providers to offer a number of services, which include setting up of infrastructure to provide Digital Locker Portal with in-built gateway functionality to provide allow citizens to sign up via web based portal or mobile app; allow accessing of documents from issuers using document references available in the Digital Locker account; and allowing requesters to access issued documents by providing document references.

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