The story of Purple/Black Indelible ink used in elections.

About Indelible Ink 

  • Mysore Paints & Varnish Limited, a Karnataka Government Undertaking is the sole manufacturer of the ink in India and has been in the business since 1962.
  • Indelible ink was first used in the 1962 Lok Sabha elections.
  • Devised to prevent a person from casting more than one vote, the purple-black indelible ink has been used in Indian elections for a long.
  • Section 61 of The Representation of the People Act (RoPA) of 1951 states that rules may be made under the Act “for the marking with the indelible ink of the thumb or any other finger of every elector who applies for a ballot paper or ballot papers for voting at a polling station before delivery of such paper or papers to him.”
  • Ink is exported to more than 25 countries including Canada, Ghana, Nigeria, Mongolia, Malaysia, Nepal, South Africa and the Maldives.

What makes the ink indelible?

  • It contains silver nitrate. It is a colourless compound that becomes visible when exposed to ultraviolet light, including sunlight. The concentration of silver nitrate ranges from 7% to 25%. 
  • This water-based ink also contains a solvent like alcohol to allow it to faster drying.
  • For up to 72 hours after application it can remain resistant to soap, liquids, home-cleansing, detergents, etc.

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