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DSC(Digital Signature Certificate)

Digital Signature Certificates (DSC) are the digital equivalent (that is electronic format) of physical or paper certificates. Few Examples of physical certificates are drivers’ licenses, passports or membership cards. Certificates serve as proof of identity of an individual for a certain purpose; for example, a driver’s license identifies someone who can legally drive in a particular country. Likewise, a digital certificate can be presented electronically to prove one’s identity, to access information or services on the Internet or to sign certain documents digitally. Physical documents are signed manually, similarly, electronic documents, for example e-forms are required to be signed digitally using a Digital Signature Certificate.

Different types of DSC

Based on the level of validation, DSC is issued in three classes.

Class I only validates the email address of the user. You may not be required to provide any documents for this.

With a Class II DSC, the certificate may be validated by the certifying authority or its representative. You will have to provide identity and address proof. These are used for e-filing income tax returns and on MCA portal.

A Class III DSC is issued directly by the certifying authority and indicates a higher level of authenticity. To get a Class III DSC, you have to be personally present in front of the certifying authority, along with identity and address proofs.

Such DSCs are used to participate in e-tendering or e-auctions organized by governments or public sector companies. These can also be used for e-filing tax returns.


Government e Marketplace(GeM)

(GeM) platform was launched on 9th August, 2016 as an online, end to end solution for procurement of commonly used goods and services for all Central Government and State Government Ministries, Departments, Public Sector Units (PSUs) and affiliated bodies.

GeM offers following Services:-
• GeM provides a complete end-to end contactless, cashless and paperless procurement system.
• GeM enhances transparency and efficiency in the procurement process.
• GeM is a trust based system with minimal manual intervention.
• GeM provides decision support to help users achieve optimal value-for-money.
• GeM provides a robust audit trail along with an internal system of check and controls.
• GeM is an inclusive platform and supports the objectives of the various preferential market access policies for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) and startups.
• GeM actively drives collaboration with key stakeholders including Ministries and States.
• New Services like Courier Service & Goods Transport Service has been Launched on GeM.


1.What is Digital Certificate?

A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is a secure digital key that certifies the identity of the holder, issued by a Certifying Authority (CA). It typically contains your identity  name, email, country, APNIC account name and your public key). Digital Certificates use Public Key Infrastructure meaning data that has been digitally signed or encrypted by a private key can only be decrypted by its corresponding public key. A digital certificate is an electronic “credit card” that establishes your credentials when doing business or other transactions on the Web.

2.Why is Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) required?

Like physical documents are signed manually, electronic documents, for example e-forms are required to be signed digitally using a Digital Signature Certificate. Transactions that are done using Internet if signed using a Digital Signature certicate becomes legally valid.

3.Who issues the Digital Signature Certificate?

A licensed Certifying Authority (CA) issues the digital signature. Certifying Authority (CA) means a person who has been granted a license to issue a digital signature certificate under Section 24 of the Indian IT-Act 2000.

4.How much time do CAs take to issue a DSC?

The time taken by Certifying Authorities to issue a DSC may vary from three to seven days.

5.What is the validity period of a Digital Signature Certificate?

The Certifying Authorities are authorized to issue a Digital Signature Certificate with a validity of one or two years. The maximum period for which the DSC is issued is only two years. On the expiry of the term, the Digital Signature Certificate can be revalidated by paying the fees again.

6.Is a company required to obtain a Digital Signature Certificate in its own name for eTendering

Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is not required by Companies but by individuals. For example the Director or the Authorized signatory signing on behalf of the Company requires a DSC.

7.Where can I use Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)?

For sending and receiving digitally signed and encrypted emails/ documents.
For carrying out secure web-based transactions.
In eTendering, eProcurement,for Registrar of Companies e-filing,Income Tax for e-filing income tax returns and also in many other applications.
For signing documents like MS Word, MS Excel and PDFs.

8.How does a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) work?

A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) explicitly associates the identity of an individual/device with a two keys – public and private keys. The certificate contains information about a user’s identity (for example, their name, pincode, country, email address, the date the certificate was issued and the name of the CA. These keys will not work in the absence of the other. They are used by browsers and servers to encrypt and decrypt information regarding the identity of the certificate user.
The private key is stored on the user’s computer hard disk or on an external device such as a USB token. The user retains control of the private key; it can only be used with the issued password. The public key is disseminated with the encrypted information. The authentication process fails if either one of these keys in not available or do not match. This means that the encrypted data cannot be decrypted and therefore, is inaccessible to unauthorized parties.

9.What type of Digital Signature Certificate is required for Importers-Exporters?

Class 3 DGFT Digital Signature Certificate is required for DGFT website to communicate. DGFT Digital Signature is valid for 1 years or 2 years. User can save time and money by using DGFT Digital Signature Certificate.

10.What are the different classes of Digital Signature Certificates?

In addition to four classes of certificates given below, the Certifying Authority may issue more classes of Public Key Certificates, but these must be explicitly defined including the purpose for which each class is used and the verification methods underlying the issuance of the certificate. The suggested four classes are the following :-
Class 0 Certificate: This certificate shall be issued only for demonstration/ test purposes.
Class 1 Certificate: Class 1 certificates shall be issued to individuals/private subscribers. These certificates will confirm that user’s name (or alias) and E-mail address form an unambiguous subject within the Certifying Authorities database.
Class 2 Certificate: These certificates will be issued for both business personnel and private individuals use. These certificates will confirm that the information in the application provided by the subscriber does not conflict with the information in well-recognized consumer databases.
Class 3 Certificate: This certificate will be issued to individuals as well as organizations. As these are high assurance certificates, primarily intended for e-commerce applications, they shall be issued to individuals only on their personal (physical) appearance before the Certifying Authorities.