Demonetisation: Mysore’s indelible ink maker makes windfall gains

Mysore Paints & Varnish Ltd, which produces indelible ink, has dispatched 30,000 bottles to RBI Mysore


A customer tries to remove the indelible ink which was applied on his finger before exchanging old currency notes at a Punjab National Bank branch in Chennai on Wednesday. Photo: PTI
A customer tries to remove the indelible ink which was applied on his finger before exchanging old currency notes at a Punjab National Bank branch in Chennai on Wednesday. Photo: PTI

Bengaluru: While queues get longer outside banks and ATMs in the country over the demonetization of Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes, one Mysore-based company, which produces the indelible ink is laughing all the way to the bank as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has placed an order for 296,500 bottles (5 ml) of indelible ink to check fraudulent transactions in exchange of currency.

Mysore Paints & Varnish Ltd (MPVL), which produces the ink, also called “voters’ ink” as it was solely used for election purposes, dispatched 30,000 bottles on Wednesday to RBI Mysore, which will then distribute it among banks across the country.

The RBI spokesperson did not respond to calls.

“We got a letter from the RBI (Mysore) and we will fulfil the orders within the next 3-4 days,” H.A.Venkatesh, chairman of MPVL told Mint on Wednesday.

Each bottle costs around Rs116 and if used as advised can ink 500 people. By that math, 148.25 million people can be marked using the fresh supplies of indelible ink.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes on 8 November, lakhs of people are standing in queues outside banks to exchange their old currency notes for new ones. Though the government limited exchange of notes per visit, there were no limitations on the number of visits, making it harder for the government to crack down on black money hoarders.

“This is the first time the ink is being used for a non-election purpose,” Venkatesh said.

Established in 1937 by Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar—the former Maharaja of Mysore—MPVL is an authorized supplier of indelible ink in India since 1962.

MPVL, a company that was formerly listed on the now defunct Bangalore stock Exchange, produces all the ink in its facility in Mysore and supplies to election commissions of states as well as the Centre.

The company had reported revenue of Rs1,892.65 lakh in 2012-13 and net profit of Rs229.17 lakh, according to the company’s website.

Venkatesh said that they are normally given prior notice and schedules for elections, but can handle “urgent” requests as well.

According to the company, it produces the ink for the Election Commission of India as well as for other countries including Nepal, Cambodia, Turkey, South Africa and Nigeria.

“For any democracy in the world, ink from Mysore is used,” Venkatesh said.

READ MORE