News-CRUX-10     22nd April 2024        

Context: With the first phase of voting for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections beginning on April 19, the classic symbol of Indian polls is visible everywhere – a left hand with only its index finger extended, marked by a purple-black indelible ink.

Indelible Ink

  • About: It  contains silver nitrate, a colorless compound.
  • Visibility: The ink's colorless compound becomes visible when exposed to ultraviolet light, including sunlight.
  • Ink Quality: The higher the silver nitrate concentration, around 20 percent, the higher the ink’s quality.

o According to a report from the United Nations Development Programme, for up to 72 hours after application, it can remain resistant to soap, liquids, home-cleansing, detergents, etc.

  • Composition: This water-based ink also contains a solvent like alcohol to allow its faster drying.
  • Manufacturer: The indelible ink was first manufactured at the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) request by the government’s Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • Representation of the People Act (RoPA) of 1951: It  includes provisions regarding the use of indelible ink during elections.

o Section 61 of RoPA: It specifically addresses the use of indelible ink during the electoral process.

o Purpose: To mark the fingers of electors who apply for a ballot paper before voting at a polling station.

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