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What is Digital Signature Certificates?

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.

Why is Digital Signature Certificates required?

Physical documents are signed manually, similarly, electronic documents, for example e-forms are required to be signed digitally using a Digital Signature Certificate. There are two main types of Digital Signature Certificates; Class 2 Certificates and Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate. A Class 2 Digital Signature Certificate is used by individuals and is available for download after verification based on a trusted and pre-verified database. A Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate, on the other hand, is of the highest level as it is issued only after the registrant’s identity verification has been carried out by a Registration Authority. Class 2 Digital Signature Certificates are generally used for filing documents Income Tax, Registrar of Companies and VAT, whereas Class 3 Digital Signature Certificates are needed for e-tendering, which is a procurement process that is conducted online. The aspects where this comes into play include:

  • Contract download
  • Evaluation of tenders (May or may not involve e-auctions)

  • Supplier registration/expression of interest
  • Submission of bid document