Finance Minister P. Chidambaram launched a programme here Monday as part of the government's e-governance project to provide digital signature certificates and facilitate secure cash transactions on the Internet.
Under the iCERT project, the Directorate General of Systems in the Customs and Central Excise Department will provide digital signature certificates to traders and agencies concerned with e-governance in the tax administration.
The certificates will help secure electronic filling of statutory returns, refund claims, requests, grievances, adjudication documents and payment advice to banks over the Internet, the finance ministry said.
The users of this facility need not come to the offices of customs and excise departments, but can yet interact over the Internet with competent authorities without any risk of impersonation.
Electronic transactions would be authenticated by the digital certificates and could be used as evidence under Indian laws, as provided for under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
The certifying authority would issue 'Class 3' digital signature certificates that carry the highest assurance levels necessary for authenticating financial transactions involving billions of revenue, the finance ministry added.
By using digital signature certificates, the trading community can drastically reduce their compliance cost as well as the time in carrying out their taxation responsibilities.