Demonetisation: Election Commission worried over misuse of its indelible ink

The Election Commission (EC) is worried that the use of indelible ink by banks to mark people who have once changed old demonetised notes will create confusion during the elections and will render is easy for unscrupulous elements to indulge in malpractices during the elections.

In fact, reports say, the Election Commission (EC) has written to the finance ministry not to use indelible ink in banks for marking people who have exchanged old Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes once.  The EC's concern arises from the fact that several states will be going to the polls on 19 November.

The EC fears that unscrupulous elements will use the demonetisation issue to vote again , thus defeating the purpose of using indelible ink.

The government had on Wednesday said that banks will use indelible ink mark to identify customers who exchange old notes in order to check people presenting themselves an umpteen times at the counter to clear their holdings of old notes.

Customers are now allowed to exchange old notes worth Rs2,000 at bank branches only once. The remaining amount, if they have any, will have to be deposited in their bank accounts.

However, the decision to use indelible ink to mark our people who have once exchanged notes, seems to have come a bit late as black money holders would have already used this route as well as the gold and railway ticket routes to launder black money.

Also, with not enough supply of the so-called indelible ink - there is only one company that is authorised to make this ink - to meet the demand from thousands of bank branches, banks are reported to be using products such as dhobi ink and even permamnet marker to mark the customers.

The EC's letter raising concerns seems to have just added to the practical difficulties arising from the government's 'innovation'.