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Election Watch: This PSU has been making the ink used to mark voters since 1962. No kidding!

PW Bureau

The indelible ink, as it is called, is manufactured by a public sector undertaking — Mysore Paints and Varnishes Limited

New Delhi: If you have voted and you have not posted a selfie with your inked finger on social media, then allow us to give you some FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). But have you ever wondered about how the ink came into being and who makes it?

Yes, it is made by a PSU!

The indelible ink, as it is called, is manufactured by a public sector undertaking (PSU) — Mysore Paints and Varnishes Limited (MPVL). The MPVL factory was set up in the 20th century during the rule of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. It was in 1962 that the PSU signed an agreement with the Election Commission of India (ECI), along with the Union law ministry, national physical laboratory and National Research Development Corporation.

Although MPVL initially supplied the indelible ink for parliamentary and Assembly elections, over the years, it has started supplying the ink for elections to municipal corporations and cooperative societies as well.

What is special about the ink?

The ink dries out completely within 40 seconds of coming into contact with your skin. Also, if the ink has been in contact with the skin even for 1 second, it will leave a mark. This feature was essential in the polling process so that nobody could vote more than once.

The component that makes ink indelible is silver nitrate. It makes up anywhere between 7 percent to 25 percent of the indelible ink.

Apart from elections, the ink was also supplied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) after the Centre’s demonetisation announcement. Because of the widespread demand that year, the orders had boosted MPVL’s profit to Rs 1.35 crore to the PSU.

Indelible ink is exported to 25 countries

MPVL also exports the ink to 25 other countries, including Pakistan, Malaysia and Denmark, among others. The state-owned enterprise claims that its ink has been used to mark more than 4.5 billion voters in India and across the world.