In line with the Digital India Programme, DigiLocker was launched in 2015 as an initiative under MeitY, to enable individuals to securely store documents and certificates on a cloud-based platform and use it for sharing and verification purposes. Over the last few years, the platform has become popular among users. The total registered user base has grown from about 1.2 million in 2016 to 152.6 million presently, according to statistics published on its official website. Till now, the platform was limited only for personal use of the citizens.
In the recent Union Budget 2023-24, the government announced expanding the purview of DigiLocker and introducing Entity DigiLocker for large, medium and small business entities. MSMEs and start-ups are the backbone of any economy, as they create jobs and contribute significantly to economic growth. However, these organisations frequently face problems with document management, storage, and sharing. With the introduction of Entity DigiLocker, MSMEs and startups can overcome these challenges and reap numerous benefits. The Government has been announcing several initiatives for start-ups and MSMEs that have encouraged the players to work towards technology-driven and digital-backed solutions. Furthermore, In line with its focus to promote digitisation, the Government has expanded the scope of DigiLocker to include its use cases for the industry and add-on functionalities like one-time KYC process for the ease of public services.
Here are the potential benefits of Entity DigiLockers for MSMEs and start-ups:
Secure Storage and Access to Documents: Secure document storage is a significant benefit of Entity DigiLocker for MSMEs and start-ups. The platform enables businesses to securely store important documents, such as certificates, licenses, permits, and other vital documents, in a digital locker. Physical storage, which can be costly, time-consuming, and prone to damage or loss, is no longer required. Furthermore, Entity DigiLocker ensures the safety and security of stored documents. To protect the documents from unauthorised access or tampering, the platform employs advanced encryption technology and multi-factor authentication. As a result, businesses can access their documents at any time, from any location, without fear of security risks.
Easy and Efficient Document Sharing: Another significant advantage of Entity DigiLocker for MSMEs and start-ups is the ease and efficiency with which documents can be shared. Businesses can use the platform to securely share digital documents with other entities, such as government agencies, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Businesses can benefit from this by saving time, reducing paperwork, and improving operational efficiency. MSMEs, for example, can use Entity DigiLocker to share digital certificates and licences with potential customers, increasing their credibility and trustworthiness. Likewise, start-ups can use the platform to share their pitch decks, business plans, and other documents with investors, accelerators, and mentors, increasing their chances of receiving funding and support.
Seamless Integration with Other Platforms: Entity DigiLocker can also help MSMEs and start-ups by integrating seamlessly with other digital platforms and services. The platform, for example, can integrate with GSTN (Goods and Services Tax Network) to allow businesses to file GST returns directly from their digital locker. This can save businesses time and effort when filing returns, as well as reduce the likelihood of errors or discrepancies. Furthermore, Entity DigiLocker can be integrated with other government services, such as eSign and Aadhaar-based authentication, to allow businesses to digitally sign documents and easily verify their identities. This can assist businesses in completing transactions and formalities quickly and efficiently, eliminating the need for physical documents or in-person verification.
Improved Compliance and Governance: Finally, Entity DigiLocker can help MSMEs and start-ups improve compliance and governance. The platform enables businesses to centrally store and manage compliance-related documents, such as tax returns, financial statements, and audit reports, in a secure digital locker. This can assist businesses in meeting regulatory requirements, avoiding penalties and fines, and improving governance practices. Furthermore, Entity DigiLocker allows government agencies to access businesses’ compliance-related documents easily and quickly, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of regulatory oversight. This can assist businesses in developing a positive reputation and trust among regulators, investors, and customers, which can have long-term benefits.
To summarise, the evolution of DigiLocker can benefit MSMEs and start-ups in many ways. The platform can provide secure document storage and access, simple and efficient document sharing, seamless integration with other platforms, and improved compliance and governance. These advantages can help businesses save time, cut costs, and improve operational efficiency. As more MSMEs and start-ups adopt Entity DigiLocker, it is expected to become an integral part of India’s digital ecosystem.
This content was originally published here.