A digital signature is a alphanumeric method of authenticating a person’s signature. Consider a document that you want to sign, without taking a hard copy of the same. It is possible by applying your signature in digital form, at the end of that document or on a pre-set position on that document. Numerous government agencies and regulatory bodies worldwide are in the betting on the application and usage of digital signature certificate, or DSC as it is commonly known as.
Want to sign a board resolution of a company? Sign digitally and it is done. Want to file income tax? You can verify your return digitally. A DSC can save you the blues (at least in case of a company, it is yet to be implemented for personal ITRs), and a simple USB device empowers you to sign on the go! In order to automate the process of verification of documents as well as reducing the possibility of fraudulent entries, this device can play a long role in solving the bottleneck
DSCs have also gained importance and usage since the central governments digital drive, where many of the regulatory filings and other declarations are required to be filed online. You cannot expect a website to verify your physical signature like a human being does, so there we have a DSC, the USB key containing data about a person who is supposed to sign on a document. This DSC is encrypted using an encryption method that is shared with the relevant website where the document is to be uploaded. Hence, it ensures that one cannot copy the signature like a normal rich text or a snapshot and paste it anywhere. This form of encryption also ensures that the key to authenticate the document (the USB token containing the DSC data) is the only way to sign a document for that person.
DSCs have immense utility for companies for ROC (Registrar of Companies) filings and company board resolution uploads, which have to be done on a regular basis. Another noteworthy use case for a DSC is for filing of GST and income tax returns. The widespread adoption of GST and the ease of filing returns have resulted in manifold increase in the number of returns filed on a daily basis. To cut the jargon, GST regulations require filing of a summary of sales on a monthly basis, which is GSTR 3B. This return can be filled and submitted online. The moment you apply or DSC on the filings page, the return is filed for processing and the GST background network does the processing, it is that neat.
Numerous agencies offer DSC issuing services for reasonable fees. You can get yours within two to three days flat. Many agents offer DSC related services. You have to provide your agent with your PAN card, Adhaar card and your contact details. The agent then fills up an online form by logging in to their DSC provider’s portal. There are various companies which issue a DSC and these agents are authorized agents of one of those. Once you sign the form (well this one is physical) and submit it to the agent, he/she sends you a mobile verification message, and an email verification link.
Then you are required to record a video online (the link will be provided separately on email). This recording is basically two or three question answers, and once you record your answers and upload the video, it is sent for approval. The approval process is very fast and if the agent is active enough, they can get your DSC issued in a couple days on even the same day. The cost of issuing a DSC depends on the class and the validity period. The most commonly used DSC is of Class 2, and the charges typically ranges between 1200 – 2000 INR for a DSC depending upon the validity period you select (1-3 years).
There is no limit to applying the DSC, you can use it as many times as you want, until the expiry date. Enjoy signing digitally!