Yesterday, I was having a talk with one of my friends in Chennai who was out of touch since Chennai had got flooded so badly. However, since the situation at the ground level had been improving, the communication with the people stuck there has been improving. The impact of these floods had been so huge that many of the families had to shift temporarily to high areas.
My friend was also one among those, since his house used to be on the ground floor and the water had seeped into the house. So, while my friend had safely and timely shifted his family along to a safer place, he did not just expect the worst. All his important degrees and certificates were inside a wooden almirah which could not be saved from the angry Water God.
While he was just telling me this, I also recollected the incident when one of my friend had to go to make endless rounds to the local post office, just to get his rightful money invested in National Savings Certificates (NSCs). The NSCs had matured but he had got those misplaced somewhere, nor did he possess a photocopy of the same to refer in the complaint for the missing certificates. Now, the Post Office authorities were demanding to refer to the certificate numbers in the indemnity bond to be submitted for taking a duplicate NSC and thereafter the maturity amount. However, since my friend had no copy, he had to literally plead before the PO authorities to get the details from the post office records.
The countless trips to post office by my friend just made me wonder how much work the Chennai friend will have in future to get duplicates of all his certificates including for educational qualifications etc. Hence, I just thought to share one of my habits with you so that you don’t have to go through all this in future. I am in a habit to scan all of my important documents and carry them along with me in a pen drive. It is always advisable to keep our important documents in scanned form in our laptop so that the same can be referred to at any time by just browsing through the laptop instead of opening that hard bound file again and again.
So, here’s a simple process to be followed:
- Scan important documents for each of the family members. The list of documents may include passport, birth certificate, educational certificates and degrees, aadhaar card, driving license etc.
In case one does not own a scanning device, one can always use smart phone camera to click a picture of the document and save it for future reference.
- Sort the documents in a separate folder for each family member. This will help organise the data better.
- Copy the folder in a pen drive and also keep the record safe in the laptop too. Don’t forget to update the folder as and when a new certificate adds to your resume or investments list.
- Also, register an account with cloud storage sites such as Google Drive, Skydrive etc. to save the data on the cloud server as well so that the same is safe and can be accessed anywhere. This will mitigate the risk of failure of the storage device. One can even use DigiLocker launched by Govt. of India. More about Digilocker is being shared later in this post.
- Live a stress free life, since you now always have your important documents accessible to you at a click of a mouse.
DigiLocker, the National Digital Locker System launched by Govt. of India
Digital Locker provides a dedicated personal e-storage space to citizens, linked to their Aadhaar numbers. DigiLocker, the National Digital Locker System launched by Govt. of India, can be accessed at https://digilocker.gov.in. DigiLocker is aimed at the concept of paperless governance. It offers the benefits of accessing the digital documents anytime, anywhere and share it online.
DigiLocker also provides eSign service which is an easy, efficient and secure way of digitally signing electronic documents. With this service, any Aadhaar holder can digitally sign an electronic document without having to obtain a physical digital signature dongle. The signer is authenticated using Aadhaar eKYC services. One can use eSign service to digitally sign the self-uploaded documents in DigiLocker as a method of self attestation. One can sign any document uploaded in ‘Uploaded Documents’ section using eSign. DigiLocker currently allows pdf, jpeg and png files to be uploaded to the account and all eSigned files are available in the pdf format after signing.
This simple but effective habit has helped me access my important documents anytime without bothering to disturb the original certificates file lying peacefully in one of my drawers. You may never know when such a systematic record keeping in soft copy may come to your rescue. So, while there is no replacement for the original documents, the scanned copies may at least give you a reference point to get the duplicate copies from the appropriate authorities.
As it is said, prevention is better than cure. Don’t regret later, just act now.