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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Digital Signature Certificate?
  2. How does Digital Signature Work?
  3. What are uses of Digital Signature Certificates?
  4. What are uses of Digital Signature Certificates in India?
  5. My DSC has expired? How do I renew my DSC?
  6. I renewed my DSC. Do I need to register again on e-filing/e-tender portals?
  7. I am a Partner / Director in several Companies? Do I need separate DSCs for each company?
  8. What is USB / Alladin eToken? What is the benefit of getting eToken for DSC?
  9. While submitting ITR 6 I am getting an error message 'Can not read the file for signing C:\fakepath\ITR6.xml'.

1: What is a Digital Signature Certificate?

A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) assures authenticity of a person's / organisation's identity in the online world. It is similar to a person's Passport which proves authenticity of his / her identity in a foreign country. (i.e provides sufficient evidence that Person A claiming so is actually Person A).

How is this authenticity similar to that of DSC?
A person's Passport is issued by a trusted authority (the government) after complete scrutiny and verification of his/her identity and credentials. Since the passport is issued by the government who is a'Trusted Third Party Authority', the passport is acceptable as proof of his/her identity by the foreign country. Similarly, in the online world, a digital signature certificate is acceptable as a person's / organisation's proof of identity, since its issued to a them by a 'Trusted Third Party Authority' after proper scrutiny and verification of their identity through various authentic documents.

In India, there are 5 Certifying Authorities (CA) (Trusted Third Party Authorities)who have been given License by the government body called Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) to issue DSC. These 5 Licensed CA's are:
1. Safescrypt
2. e-Mudhra
3. TCS
4. GNFC (nCode Solutions)
5. MTNL
e-CommIT has tied up with Safescrypt and e-Mudhra as channel partners for issuing the DSC.
Please visit our Digital Signatures page to obtain your DSC now.

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Q2 How does Digital Signature Work?

Digital Signature Certificate, in simple terms, is a file created by a Licensed Certifying Authority through encryption and is then issued to you, in the USB eToken. When signing any particular document this file is accessed, which acts like a 'key' (Private Key) and locks & secures the document being signed (through encryption). [This is similar to using a key in a physical lock to secure your valuables in a bank locker - a lock can only be opened by its own key].

In addition to locking the document being signed, this file also adds a Digital Certificate (DSC) to it containing your identity details, viz. name, Organisation's name, email ID, etc.
It also adds a key code (known as public key) which is the same key that resides in the Certifying Authorities server, thereby allowing the other party to validate the authenticity of your Digital Signature Certificate.

Contrary to popular myth, the DSC does NOT contain a scanned copy of your physical signature.

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Q3: What are uses of Digital Signature certificates?

A digital signature is a way to ensure that an electronic document (e-mail, spreadsheet, text file, etc.) is authentic. Authentic means that you know who created the document and you know that it has not been altered in any way since that person created it. Digital signatures are used to sign electronic documents and Digital signatures rely on certain types of encryption to ensure authentication.

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Q4: What are uses of Digital Signature Certificates in India?

In India, Digital Signature Certificate was first used by Registrar of Companies (RoC) when the Ministry of Company Affairs transitioned into e-filing of statutory returns. The benefits accrued through the same was adopted by other government agencies in India and today its being widely used. Some of the popular uses of DSC are as below:
1. e-filing of Income Tax Returns :An assessee can file his/her Income Tax Return online and those who sign their returns digitally do not have to send the physical copies of the same to the Income Tax Department for verification.

2. e-filing of Company Returns (RoC) :To ensure statutory compliance for companies in India, the Registrar of Companies (RoC) has now made e-filing mandatory and a Digital Signature Certificate is required to do the same.

3. e-tender / e-Procurement :Many of the state governments as well as other government agencies in India have transitioned to e-procurement and you need a Digital Signature Certificate to bid for tenders online.

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Q5: My DSC has expired? How do I renew my DSC? /

Digital Signature Certificate can be renewed by re-submitting your valid Identity & Address proof along with the renewal form and appropriate fees. A new set of Public-Private Key is issued to you along with the certificate. A DSC of any Certifying Authority can be renewed by Sify.

Please visit our Digital Signatures page to renew your DSC now.

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Q6: I renewed my DSC? Do I need to register again on e-filing/e-tender portals?

No, you do not need to register again. However, you may have to update your old DSC registered on the portal with your renewed Digital Signature Certificate because the serial number and validity of the DSC changes on renewal. Please visit our Digital Signatures page to renew your DSC now.

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Q7: I am a Partner/Director in several companies? Do I need separate DSC for each company?

It depends. In India, broadly there are following categories of Digital Signature Certificate and their respective uses:

Certificate Type Certificate Validity and Use
Class II
(also Known as MCACert)
same DSC can be used for all companies where you are an authorised signatory;
no need to acquire separate DSCs.
Class III Individual:
(also Known as Class IIIa):
Class III with Organisation Name :
(also Known as Class IIIb)
This is valid only for that company which is mentioned in your DSC where you are an authorised signatory.

This class of DSC is required for some of the online portals / sites that specify in their requirement that the DSC should contain both the Signatory's AND the Organisation's name. In such a case, you will have to obtain separate DSC for each company.

\ Please visit our Downlaods & Links Page to view list of such portals their DSC requirements.

Please visit our Digital Signatures page to renew your DSC now.

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Q8: What is USB / Alladin eToken? What is the benefit of getting eToken for DSC?

Allading eToken is a security device (looks similar to pen drive) which securely stores your Digital Signature Certificate. However, e-TOKEN IS NOT A PEN-DRIVE !! It contains a smart-card chip that attaches in the USB Port.

Benefits of using eToken:
Security: Once a DSC is imported into an e-Token, it is impossible to fetch it out or copy it even if you have complete control of the token.
Mobility: e-Token ensures that the DSC can be used in multiple computers without compromising security; a person is not stuck up with a single computer.
Safety: e-Token cannot be infected by viruses and hence will be safe until its validity.

On the contrary, the use of DSC without the eToken / Smart Card, will compromise security because it requires you to install and copy your DSC in a computer. This is NOT recommended or safe method of use, if you are in a public environment i.e. using a Cyber Cafe / other person's computer / other people have access to your computer. A copy of the DSC will be stored in that computer unless you delete it after every use from that computer.

However, in case of Alladin eToken, the DSC is not copied in a computer. The smart-card chip technology enables access to the digital signature from the eToken directly. Once the token is removed from the PC your digital signature will no longer be accessible in that PC.


Please visit our Digital Signatures page to get your DSC now.

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Q9: While submitting ITR 6 I am getting an error message 'Can not read the file for signing C:\fakepath\ITR6.xml'.

The error is usually faced by people using Internet Explorer 8 (IE8).

You can resolve this through any one of the following 3 ways:

  1. In IE8, Add "https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in" to your Trusted Sites:
    Go To Tools>Internet Options>Security>Trusted Sites>Sites
  2. OR, In IE8, Change Security Settings:
    Go to Tools>Internet Option>Security>Custom
    Enable "Include local directory path when uploading files to a server"
    (You can find it at almost at the end)
  3. OR, Create folder named "Fakepath" in C: & copy the xml file in this folder.

In non-technical terms,
As per HTML5 (website programming language), during file upload the real local path of the selected file is not revealed, unless it's a trusted site. Since IE8 supports this specification (as compared to older versions of IE), its default security setting results in "fakepath" error (if the site is not added to your "trusted sites" list).
Hence, you will be able to upload your return once you apply the security setting as recommended above.

Please visit our Digital Signatures page to get your DSC now.

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