From what you read about ‘digitization and the ever-expanding ‘digital revolution’, you might be excused for believing the paper industry is disappearing fast. Unfortunately, news of this demise is woefully unfounded. Paper is still a big part of today’s business processes. Despite technology rendering a lot of the paper-based products obsolete, there are still certain facets of business processes that seem to have a love affair with paper and refuse to let it go.
The reason this affair has thrived is because even though enterprises have actively tried to go digital and improve their efficiency across segments, there is one constant hitch in their process stopping them from realizing the true tech potential.
Signatures are the bane of a paperless office; they are the reason why paperwork comes into the physical form. Contract management solutions have allowed for documents to be drafted, negotiated and finalized digitally.
The only missing piece in this digital jig-saw is the execution.
What’s wrong with paper?
Paper is a pain. Beyond getting annoyingly jammed in printers, paper also results in the following hidden costs:
- Signing delays
- Signature inconsistencies
- Storage costs
- Courier expenses
- Data security issues
- Access issues
- Disposal issues
The solution to physical signatures is simple – digital authentication (via electronic signatures and electronic authentication)
Digital Authentication has been given sanctity in India by virtue of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The most commonly known form of digital authentication is the click-wrap ‘Terms and Conditions’ box one ticks when installing software or creating an account with an online app or service.
Unfortunately, click-wrap does not work for business contracts and documents due to its inherent lack of identification, evidentiary value and attribution.
One way to solve this is the digital signature. In most people’s minds – the digital signature is that ‘Yellow’ Question Mark on PDF documents obtained by inserting a USB device. This is known as a DSC Token. It is commonly used by Chartered Accountants and Directors of Companies.
However, to obtain a DSC Token requires a multi-step process involving Digital KYC, payment of Rs. 3000-5000 and a physical couriering of the token. This is hardly scalable. Clearly, therefore digital signatures are an eyewash and businesses are consigned to paper forever.
Or maybe not?
All of the above was true until the joint efforts of UIDAI, CCA, and iSPIRT gave birth to the Aadhaar eSign framework which allowed anyone carrying an Aadhaar card to be able to digitally sign a document. This has been paramount in propelling the adoption of digital signatures into the mainstream market, leveraging the Aadhaar penetration of over 121 crore people in India.
Aadhaar Online eSign is the most convenient and scalable method of eSigning in India today. It leverages the internet to provide eSign generation for individuals on the fly using either of the following authentication techniques:
- The signer enters their Aadhaar number on the website of the eSign Service Provider –
- an OTP is generated –
- which after authentication performs a successful eKYC for that Aadhaar number (between eSign Service Provider and UIDAI) and returns a digital signature certificate (generated by the CA).
- This certificate is then passed from the eSign Service Provider to the Application Service Provider, which affixes it on the document.
All a signer needs to sign through this mode is a working internet connection and a phone/email linked to their Aadhaar number.
- Biometric – The signer places their biometrics on a device– which the eSign service provider relays with UIDAI and performs an eKYC – which if positive – leads to the generation of a Digital Signature Certificate
- Iris – Same as biometric – except iris scanner is used.
Upon successful completion of the above authentication – verified by UIDAI – the eSign Provider, NSDL creates a Digital Signature Certificate in real-time. This Certificate is then passed to the Application Service Provider (like Leegality) which affixes it on the document. A DSC contains basic information such as name, state, pin-code and the last 4 digits of the Aadhaar number of the person signing the document.
Importance of eSign in business today
Aadhaar eSignatures have allowed for companies to securely speed up the execution process, while maintaining significant control and keeping the entire document journey digital from the inception to the execution.
Aadhaar eSignatures have proven to be a major value add especially in the fin-tech space – allowing for seamless digital journeys with significant cost and time reductions for critical documents such as:
- Loan documentation
- Customer onboarding
- Merchant/Partner agreements
API infrastructures ensure that the business processes are seamless and faster with minimal human intervention, significantly cutting down errors and costs.
Some of the most important advantages that eSignatures bring to the table are:
- In addition to standard verifications, ASP’s (Application service providers) can add various layers of authentication to bolster the signature validity.
- Quicker execution translates to quicker implementation.
- Enhanced efficiency, security, and legal validity.
Despite eSignatures – there is another roadblock to a fully digital process for most companies – the need for stamp papers.
Stamp duty is payable by parties on most contracts – by affixture of a stamp paper. The amount to be paid as stamp duty can be paid by purchasing stamp papers via licensed stamp vendors. Even the vaunted ‘eStamping’ process in most States operates on the physical usage of eStamp Papers.
Fortunately, the answer to your stamping and signing woes is here!
Leegality is an eSign, Digital Stamping and Document Workflow platform that empowers businesses to sign and stamp documents digitally. On top of that – various workflow solutions ensure that you can forget paper for good!
Leegality’s eSign and eStamp solutions are the final piece in the contract automation jig-saw allowing you to go paperless in the truest sense of the word.
Leegality has empowered various Indian businesses such as HDB Financial, L&T Finance, WeWork India, Siemens Financial among others digitize their documentation processes.
Read about how Airtel Payments Bank uses Leegality here
See our Company Profile here
Try a free transaction here
Watch a video to see how it works here – Contact us if you’re interested!