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What is a DSC in India

In the article about company registration in India, it was noted that directors of an Indian company are required to obtain not only a DIN, but a DSC as well. The DSC in India is as important as the DIN.

So what is a DSC and how is it to be obtained?

What is a DSC in India

Posted 5 December 2023

What is a DSC in India?

DSC (Digital Signature Certificate) is a digital key issued by certifying authorities to verify the identity of the certificate holder. In India, DSC serves as the electronic counterpart of a paper certificate validating the identity of its owner (e.g., driver’s license, passport).

Similar to a paper certificate, an electronic certificate serves the purpose of verifying identity for specific uses. Therefore, DSC can be presented to confirm identity, access information or services online, or sign specific documents electronically. In India, DSC is highly convenient, especially when physically signing documents is not possible.

Certifying authorities (CAs) issue DSCs. The list of licensed CAs can be found on the official website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in India.

Interesting:
There are 3 types of DSC, each used for different purposes.

  1. For Signing:
    This type of DSC is used solely for signing documents. Its most common use includes signing PDF files for tax declarations, MCA, etc. Using DSC ensures not only the authenticity of the signatory but also the data, proving the information remains unaltered.
  2. For Encryption:
    Encrypt DSC is exclusively used for document encryption. This type is widely used on tender portals to assist companies in encrypting and uploading documents. It’s suitable for e-commerce, legal documentation, and confidential exchanges needing protection.
  3. For Signing and Encryption (Sign&Encrypt):
    DSC Sign & Encrypt can be used for both signing and encryption. This is convenient for users needing to verify data authenticity and maintain confidentiality of provided information.

Procedure for obtaining a DSC in India

To obtain the DSC, certain documents are needed, depending on the purpose, applicant, and other factors. However, at least three documents are always required:

  • An application for the DSC;
  • The applicant’s photograph;
  • The confirmation of the applicant’s address.

In India, obtaining DSC can be done in the following ways:

  1. Applicants can directly approach certifying centers (CAs) with original required documents;
  2. DSC can be obtained using Aadhar eKYC authentication, where supporting documents are not required;
  3. Alternatively, a letter/certificate issued by a Bank containing the applicant’s DSC information stored in the Bank’s database can be used. This document must be certified by the Bank Manager.

For those unwilling to handle the process themselves, professional services are available to manage the entire procedure.

Typically, the process of obtaining DSC takes no more than 1 day.

Want to get further insights?

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Diane

Diane, partner of GFLO Consultancy

Validity period of the DSC

The DSC in India is issued for a period not exceeding 3 (three) years and depends on the type of the DSC and other factors. The minimum duration for which DSC can be issued is 1 (one) year.

The validity of a DSC in India is strictly governed by legislation; hence, certificates cannot be issued for more than 3 years or less than 1 year.

Conclusion

DSC is a unique digital key issued to verify the identity of the person owning it. DSC is issued for various purposes, each with its own specifications.

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