Earlier this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the Digital India Vision, a vision of a future in which India connects citizens and grassroots innovation through digital gateways. Government, national initiatives, and information for Indian citizens are intended to be made more accessible to them. A mention of electronic signatures (eSigning) as a way for the average Indian to save time and make life simpler was also made during the presentation.
Image courtesy of @MIB India on the Digital-India-Blog.
This is a moment of great pride for us. We are currently the leading Indian company in the world in terms of being able to deliver an eSignature service, which is similar to digital signatures. The fact that we anticipated this shift and have been working on it for the past five years is something we are quite proud of. Moreover, this is what the market refers to as ‘validation,’ which occurs when your notion is proven and acknowledged in the actual world by others.
In that case, why is eSignature, which is nothing more than a fictitious digital electronic signature, so crucial in this vision of Digital India?
It is extremely crucial, and I’ll explain why in just a moment.
eSignatures are simple to understand and use, as demonstrated by several organizations and individuals that have embraced the technology in recent years. It demonstrates that eSignatures are the appropriate entryway for small towns and rural populations to receive tailored services, which will aid in the country’s transformation into a digital nation. Signatures are one of the most prevalent and vital acts in everyday business and trade, making them the ideal starting place for those who wish to learn how to utilize them. Any further initiatives on the digital front by the government must address concerns of ownership as well as legal issues about intellectual property and copyright. eSignatures serve as the foundation for every one of these efforts.
eSignatures, which are facilitated mostly by apps on smartphones, which account for the majority of internet access in India, may be viewed and used from any location in the country as long as there is a phone connection available. Currently, India has 930 million mobile phones, with more than 5 million new phones being added every month, according to the latest available data. Even if we subtract half of this figure because they are not categorized as “smartphones,” this indicates that the reach and extent of this technology are extensive. It has the potential to bring about a significant shift in the way rural India conducts its business. The stalling of crucial transactions or negotiations is no longer necessary due to the absence of a significant stakeholder or the inability to fax documents across the border.
In 2000, the United States government recognized electronic signatures as being as legally enforceable as “wet signatures,” and India followed suit in 2008. What makes eSignatures even better than traditional paper signatures at times is the fact that they are digitally signed. The fact that, although traditional signatures can be falsified, electronic signatures cannot. Every digital act will leave a digital trail that can be followed back to the source of the crime. The authenticity of every signature can be verified by checking and cross-checking it against other signatures. As a result, the system is more or less impenetrable.
Ideal for Businesses in the Modern Era
In this age of internet enterprises and the unbundling of established industries, we require technology that not only performs well on its own but also integrates with other technologies and services that, when combined, may provide users with even more ease. According to the Aberdeen Group, organizations that use electronic signatures in business-to-business sales cycles report an increase in customer retention of 6.4 percent each year on average. This is a colossal amount of information. Furthermore, the majority of eSignature services are interoperable with all of the other online services you use, such as Dropbox, Google, Box, Slack, and so forth. It is this seamless experience that allows the modern businessman to maximize sales and profits in the shortest amount of time.
In a market like India, the bottom line is how much this is going to cost individual consumers and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Because overcoming barriers to change is only achievable when the price point for a new product is attractive enough for a user to contemplate purchasing it in the first instance. Additionally, eSignatures perform admirably in this regard, as most of these solutions, including our own SignEasy, begin at less than INR 300, which is among the most affordable prices available for a technology of this caliber.
In India, we have observed enterprises implementing cutting-edge paperless solutions. To open a new account, ICICI Bank, one of the main private sector banks, has implemented “Tab Banking.” Their officers do house calls and office visits to scan the necessary documents, such as pictures and Know Your Customer (KYC) documents. This is a critical step in assisting clients in avoiding the requirement to provide signed papers to the company. Even though signatures on KYC documents are no longer required with Tab Banking, there is still a necessity for completing a certain form that is associated with the bank account.
In the not-too-distant future, neither the officer nor the customer will be required to visit the customer’s home or place of business. Customers can save time by signing and sending the relevant forms to the bank themselves using eSignatures. Consider the number of hours that people and the bank will save, the number of visits that will be avoided, and the overall increase in inefficiency. This is something that can be accomplished on a larger scale. For example, in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, SBI processed more than 70 million new accounts opened. All of those account opening procedures could be replaced by eSigning technology instead of physical signatures in the future.
The Government of India’s campaign for electronic signatures is mostly focused on starting at a point where it is convenient for people to congregate and begin using technology. In the long run, it is a solid, well-thought-out decision that could yield dividends as we come closer to becoming a digital nation.