What is digital signatures, and how to apply

digital signature certificate

What is a Digital Signature certificate?

With technological advancements and digitization of documents, the activities such as government approval, filing of returns, submission of documents, and submission of tenders are processed in online mode. Submitting documents online and authentication through physical signature increased the burden on government departments as well as the users of government services. In order to enable complete online submission of documents, a system of electronic authentication of documents was implemented, and the same was given legal validity by section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. 

Documents and other files submitted using a digital signature certificate (DSC) are taken up for processing without a manual signature, thus it reduced the lead time for manual signing by the authorized person, transportation, and data processing by departments.

Digital signature certificate is a high-security cryptographic system for signing documents, issued by A licensed Certifying Authority (CA).

DSC is processed directly by certifying authorities such as Capricorn who is the leader in the industry on their own or through authorized dealers like us.

How to apply digital signature certificate?

The digital signature certificate should be applied completely in an online medium, there is no requirement to sign the physical documents, once the application is processed by the digital signature application agent or consultant the certificate will be downloaded in a high-security e-token and will be provided to the client.

There are two types of processing of digital signature applications, one is Aadhaar-based application processing and the other one is PAN-based application processing.

It is always recommended to apply pan based digital signature certificate so that it can be used in all departments where pan-based application processing is done. In pan-based application processing, there will be additional processes such as displaying physical documents submitted in video.

How to renew, apply duplicate, and cancel a digital signature certificate?

Digital signature comes with 2 and 3 years of validity, which cannot be renewed, once the digital signature expires, only a fresh digital signature can be applied.

Only one digital signature can be issued for one application, in case the applicant requires more than one digital signature he can apply the same by using an alternative e-mail address and mobile no. A digital signature cannot be copied to more than one token, or it cannot be copied in a computer system.

Cancellation of the lost digital signature should be done by providing a written letter with reasons for cancellation to the certifying authority or dealer with whom the certificate was applied, on receipt of the letter the same shall be processed, and the digital signature will be revoked, and cannot be used in future for the remaining period. Once cancellation is applied, re-activation of the digital signature is not possible.

What are the types of digital signatures?

Only class 3 digital signatures are issued now for enhanced security.

Based on the application type, a digital signature can be classified as a digital signature certificate with encryption and without encryption, digital signature with encryption is used to add a layer of security to documents and data submitted by encryption using a security key, in addition to authentication of documents. Generally, digital signature with encryption is applied for application for e-tenders where data submitted should be confidential.

Based on the usage of digital signatures, it can be classified into the following types

  1. Digital signature for income tax filing.
  2. Digital signature for company registration and ROC filings.
  3. Digital signature for import export code application.
  4. Digital signature for ESI and EPF.
  5. Digital signature certificate for DGFT.
  6. DSC for E-tenders.

How to use Digital signatures

As a first step to using digital signature, the software which is preloaded in the e-token shall be installed in the computer system, and minimum system requirements for usage of digital signature tokens shall be considered.

Java software recommended for specific usage shall be provided on the respective website of the government department, and the same shall be installed along with recommended Java signing utility.

System security settings shall be changed in order to avoid errors in using a digital signature. The most common browser errors are port binding failure and security warnings, which can be removed by adding the website to the exception list and changing the security setting to give instructions to the browser to allow the use of digital signatures by the website.

System settings, configuration, and error rectification for the usage of DSC in different portals.

The most common and simple error will be an outdated version of Java and utility software. Apart from common system requirements such as the browser operating system, there will be a specific requirement for each portal which is given one by one. The system settings or configuration settings can also be known from the respective portal help section, in the case where there is no help section for digital signature it is always recommended to contact the department through the support e-mail ID.

System setting for using Digital signature for GST return filing.

The person for whom the digital signature to be used should be already be added as an authorized signatory on the GST website for GST return filing and submission of other documents.

Step 1: Install the doc signer utility from the GST portal from the following link download em signer or document signer for the GST filing

Step 2: Install the docs signer, and allow the requested settings prompted by the installer.

Step 3: Open

Step 4: Click on proceed if prompted for a security warning, proceed and allow, this step will avoid port binding failure.

Step 5: Once done, open the GST portal, Document signer, and e-token utility.

Step 6: Navigate to the required application and click on authenticate with the digital signature, select the required to be authorized signatory, and proceed, if nothing shows up minimize all other windows and maximize the document signer window, because the documents signer runs in the background,   digital signature available in the system will be displayed, select the required digital signature, you will be prompted for a digital signature password enter the password and the GST filing will be completed.