The magical voter's ink

The indelible ink is used to mark a voter’s finger during elections to avoid fraud, multiple voting, and malpractices

During the elections, you must have seen your parents coming out of polling stations with violet-coloured ink on one of their fingers. This ink is called the voters ink or indelible ink.


The indelible ink was first developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 1952. In 1962, the Election Commission and the National Research Development Corporation signed an agreement with Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd. (MPVL), established by the Mysuru maharaja Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV in 1937, to manufacture and supply the ink.

Since then, the MPVL (an undertaking of the Karnataka government) has remained the sole authorised supplier of indelible ink, having an exclusive licence granted by the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) since 1962.


For over six decades, the MPVL has been supplying indelible ink for civic body, Assembly and Parliamentary elections.

Besides, this ink is supplied to more than 25 countries, including Canada, Ghana, Nigeria, Mongolia, Malaysia, Nepal, South Africa, and the Maldives.

While in India the indelible ink is applied on the left-hand index finger of the voter in a 25 polling booth, the voters in Cambodia and the Maldives need to dip their finger into the ink. In Burkina Faso, the ink is applied with a brush, and nozzles are used in Turkey.

Mysterious ink

The indelible ink contains silver nitrate that gets absorbed into the nail and skin, making it last for several days. It remains bright for about 10 days before beginning to fade away. It cannot be wiped off by any chemical, detergent, or oil. It gets removed over time as fresh skin cells replace the dead ones.

Though the concentration of silver nitrate ranges from 7% to 25% the exact composition remains unknown as it is manufactured in secrecy.

Picture Credit : Google 


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