No stock to mark exchanges, but ink maker gearing up to rise to occasion


Mysore Paints and Varnish, the only company in India making indelible ink, has no stock, but plans to start manufacturing from tomorrow morning.

With a strong suspicion that black money holders are desperately trying to convert demonetised currency by making multiple trips to the bank to exchange these notes, the government has now decided to mark them.

For perhaps the first time since independence, banks will now use indelible ink to mark the index fingers of those who have exchanged currency worth Rs 4,500 in a day, the cap set by the Reserve Bank of India.

This indelible ink is manufactured exclusively by a Karnataka government-owned company in Mysore.

Hara Kumar, general manager, Mysore Paints and Varnish, told YourStory,

This ink is being used by banks for the first time. We have had several enquiries today, but we have absolutely no stock left as this is not election season. We will start manufacturing from tomorrow morning in batches, which will then be ready for dispatch within hours.

This will prevent people from going to several banks to exchange the demonetised currencies of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 as the indelible ink, which is used to mark those who cast their vote during elections, cannot be wiped away or gotten rid of so easily. The ink, normally applied on the nail and finger in a single action, takes weeks to wash off.

Kumar said that the ink is packed in vials of 5 ml each, and that each bottle can be used to mark up to 500 people. The cost depends on the quantity produced. “All this will be clear when the banks come back tomorrow morning with their exact requirements,” he said.

The company expects to cash in on this unexpected opportunity. While the voting population is different and the order is given by the Election Commission of India, banks will be using indelible ink for the first time, for any purpose.

In Delhi, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das today announced that this measure is being taken up to reduce crowds at bank branches, where people are waiting for up to four to five hours. It is also in response to reports of people attempting to convert black money to white by visiting banks multiple times.

A manager in a public sector bank admitted that he too had been verbally told by his head office that staff will have to start using indelible ink to mark those who exchange currency. “We are waiting for the formal orders, and though this is extra work, it will also mark a first for staffers, since we have never been put on election duty,” he added.


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