Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited

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Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited (MPVL)
Founder(s)Maharaja Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar
MissionPreparation of Indelible ink for the Elections in India and in some foreign countries.
OwnerGovernment of Karnataka
Formerly calledMysore Lac and Paints Limited
Location, ,
The company also manufactures other products such as chemical-resistant paints, enamels, primers, distempers, sealing wax, postage stamp cancellation, and polishes.

Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited is a company located in the city of Mysore, India. It is the only company in India authorised to produce indelible ink, which is used in elections to prevent people from voting multiple times.[1][2][3] The company is owned and operated by the Government of Karnataka under the chairmanship of Mr. Anantha, Ex-Mayor Mysore City Corporation.


The company was started as the Mysore Lac and Paints Limited by the Maharaja of Mysore, Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar in 1937 for manufacturing paints and related products.[3] It became a public sector company when India gained independence in 1947. In 1962, it was selected to manufacture indelible ink, which was first used in the third general election in India.[1] The manufacturing process is a closely guarded secret and is based on a chemical formula devised by the National Physical Laboratory of India.


Indelible ink[edit]

Indelible black ink was initially manufactured by the company to meet the needs of the Indian elections. It is usually applied on the finger nail of the voter and leaves an indelible mark which is not easy to erase. The mark stays on the finger for nearly 20 days. This prevents the voter from exercising the franchise again and hence checks fraud.[1] One of the major customers for this ink is the Election Commission of India which places orders based on the number of voters involved in the election. The ink is then supplied to the Chief Electoral Officers who further distribute it to individual voting centres.[2] The indelible ink is supplied in vials having volumes of 5 ml, 7.5 ml, 20 ml, 50 ml and 80 ml. A 5 ml vial can be used for about 300 voters. It is estimated that around 300 million people have had this ink applied over a period of 45 years.[2] The ink is also exported to countries like Thailand, Singapore, Nigeria, Malaysia and South Africa.[1] It has also started manufacturing marker pens containing this ink for easy usage and this has also been used in elections held in Afghanistan.[3] The company also manufactured indelible ink for Cambodian elections in 2008 and 2012.[4]

Other products[edit]

The company also manufactures other products such as chemical-resistant paints, enamels, primers, distempers, sealing wax, postage stamp cancellation, and polishes.[5] The sealing wax manufactured by the MVPL is used by India Post, and the Election Commission to seal Ballot boxes was the first product to be manufactured by them.[4]


The company's business is highly dependent on the Indian general election (held once in five years) and in a year when the elections are held, significant increase in the revenue is observed.[6] In the financial year 2006–2007, the company earned profits of Rs. 18 million (about $450K).[7] For the general elections held in India in the year 2004, the company supplied orders worth Rs. 40 million (about $1 million). It earned Rs 12.8 million (about $320K) when it supplied ink to the general elections held in Cambodia in 2008.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d R. Krishna Kumar (2004-03-17). "The business of `black-marking' voters". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2004-03-17. Chennai, India. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  2. ^ a b c "An 'indelible' contribution". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2007-09-11. Chennai, India. 2007-09-11. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  3. ^ a b c Sunil Raman (2004-10-12). "India link to Afghan ink stink". Online webpage of the BBC,dated 2004-10-12. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  4. ^ a b Jayaraman, Pavitra (13 August 2012). "1937 Mysore Paints and Varnish । The ink of democracy". LiveMint. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Profile". Online Webpage of the Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  6. ^ M B Maramkal (2004-01-16). "Poll time 'blues'". Online Edition of The Times of India, dated 2004-01-16. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  7. ^ "State keen on expanding Paints & Varnishes Ltd". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2007-07-05. Chennai, India. 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  8. ^ "Indelible ink shipped to Cambodia". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2007-03-10. Chennai, India. 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2007-09-17.