In keeping with its Digital India programme, the NDA government is in the process of finalising a plan to digitize all documents and records of citizens, including documents like income and caste certificates, issued by the government and make them accessible online on a real-time basis.
According to sources in the Ministry of Information and Technology, the government will soon finalise plan for a standard mechanism to issue government documents — certificates of caste, marriage etc as well as educational certificates — to Aadhaar-authenticated citizens in an electronic format that are uploaded online by the issuing authority on a platform of their choice, and which can be subsequently shared with different agencies.
Each certificate issued will have a unique reference number and can be accessed online using the number.
“Once implemented, it will mean all documents and certificates issued by the government will be available online in a machine readable format. Hence, if an individual needs to produce his certificates to an authority while applying for a job or any other purpose, he will not have to carry the physical copies. His documents will be accessed by the authority through the unique reference number, that can be optically read,” a government official said.
The idea behind such a move, sources say, is to minimize paper-work and eliminate the possibilities of using fake certificates. All such documents will also be in a printable format. The idea is not merely to issue new documents digitally but also to digitize old documents.
“There will not be any centralized repository of all documents but each issuing authority will have the freedom to upload and store them on a platform of their choice. Essentially, there will be multiple such repositories within a larger ecosystem,” the official said.
Sources also say the idea behind using Aadhaar numbers to authenticate the document owner and linking the number to the said document is to eliminate chances of fraud, ensuring only the owner can use the document.
Digital storage of documents, if implemented successfully, is user-friendly also since it eliminates the risk of losing certificates and does away with the hassle of obtaining duplicate copies.