Indelible Ink — Eleven Facts Every Indian Should Know

1) The indelible ink that’s used in our elections was developed by National Physical Laboratories, Delhi in 1962, and has been in use since the 1962 Lok Sabha elections.

2) Though formulated by National Physical Laboratories, Delhi, the manufacture of this indelible ink is licensed to, and carried out by Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd, a company founded company founded by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV in 1937. The company is now owned by the Karnataka government. Source: Livemint

3) The company specializes in manufacturing quality indelible ink in association with the Election Commission, the National Physical Laboratory and the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC). It is the sole authorized supplier of this type of ink in India with an exclusive licence granted by the NRDC. Source: The Hindu

4) 20,140 litres of violet ink are to be used in the 2014 General Elections. The demand was about  19, 000 litres during 2009 general elections. Source: ECI

Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited in Mysore has received orders for supplying 2.2 million vials of indelible ink for the Lok Sabha elections. Photo: M.A. Sriram

[Image: Copyright The Hindu]

5) The making of this ink is a secret — at Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd, only the quality control manager knows the formula. He works in a secluded, and closed room. Source: ECI

6) The ink is applied on the voter’s finger as a line from the top end of the nail to the bottom of the first joint of the left forefinger with effect from 1/2/2006. Earlier, the ink was applied on the joint of nail and skin. Source: PIB

7) The ink is applied differently across the world — in India, it’s dabbed with a stick, while in Cambodia and Maldives, voters dip a finger into the ink, in Burkina Faso and Burundi, the ink is applied with a brush. In Turkey it is applied with nozzles and in Afghanistan with pens. Source: The Hindu

8) This ink contains silver nitrate which stains on exposure to UV light, leaving a mark that is impossible to wash off — it goes off when the skin cells are regenerated. Source: PIB

9) The use of indelible ink in India did not start in the 1962 elections, but in 1951, and is considered as a stroke of genius of the then Chief Election Commissioner, Sukumar Sen. Nearly 3.9 million (5 ml each) phials of this ink were used in the 1952 elections.  Source: The New Indian Express

10) Each bottle can mark 700 fingers. Source: Livemint

11) Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd exports indelible ink to 28 countries across the world including Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, Nepal, Ghana, Papua-New Guinea, Burkina Faso, Canada, Togo, Sierra Leone, Malaysia, Cambodia. They have been exporting since 1976.