Avoiding fraud through Digital Certificates, the Akshaya way

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It was in December 2010 that the ambitious e-District project was launched in Kerala in Kannur District. The project was launched in Palakkad District within four months. As of now there are 23 different digital certificates which are being issued through the e-district application mostly through the Akshaya Citizen Service Centres (CSCs). On an average, there are two Akshaya CSCs in every Panchayat. One of the most important certificates is the Possession Certificate. It is on record that we have issued over 9 lakhs digital certificates so far in Kerala.

The digital certificates have become very popular with the citizens and also with the Government Officials. In July, 2012 itself, over 1.35 lakhs digital certificates have been issued in Kannur and Palakkad Districts which proves that this application has gained popularity and trust among the citizens. Along with the convenience, the digital certificates have also been instrumental in tackling fraud in a big way. Dealing with bogus certificates has always been a big challenge for Government agencies. The e-District application has proved that the digital certificates issued is fool proof and cannot be duplicated.

Recently, a person approached an Official with his Possession Certificate. Within no time the concerned official could scan the 2D barcode and could know from the e-District website that the document was forged and the individual was caught. The fraud Possession Certificate was created by a person by forging certain documents but the QR Code and the digital signature could not be duplicated.

This is an indication that the digital certificate is a fool proof document. The process of issue of digital certificates has made it easy for citizens to apply it on-line. But at the same time it is impossible to forge a digital certificate. The fundamental mission of the National e-Governance Programme (NeGP) of ensuring speed, efficiency, citizen friendliness, transparency and accuracy have been achieved through the e-District application.

There are multiple ways to verify the document. The 2D barcode on any digital certificate can be scanned by any mobile with a GPRS connection. Reading the QR barcode will point to the original digital certificate in the website – ‘Please go to this website and you will know to whom this certificate belong to’.
 
Alternately the Officials can go to the e-District website (edistrict.kerala.gov.in), enter the certificate number and verify the ownership and correctness of the certificate. Most importantly one can easily identify the signatory, namely the Village Officer by verifying his Digital Signature. Hence there are multiple levels of security. Even if the website is hacked it is impossible to forge a digital certificate.

In fact anybody can verify the authenticity of a digital certificate. Go to e-District website, click ‘Certificate Verification’ option and enter the ‘certificate number’ which can be seen below the barcode. Enter the ‘security code’ of the certificate from the left hand bottom of the certificate and click ‘submit’ button. You will be able to see the original certificate.

Korath V Mathew

About the Author

Korath V Mathew is an ICT Specialist providing consulting services in IT projects especially in the field of e-Governance. He has worked on projects of ADB, DFID (UK) and World Bank, besides private firms. He is presently the Director of Akshaya, Kerala’s flagship e-Governance programme. About 80% of the UID enrolment in Kerala is done by Akshaya. He can be contacted on kvmathew @ gmail.com.

Kerala IT News

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