Realising the importance of Environmental Information, the Government of India,in December, 1982, established an Environmental Information
System(ENVIS) as a plan programme. The focus of ENVIS since inception has been on providing environmental information to decision makers,
policy planners, scientists and engineers, research workers, etc. all over the country.
Since environment is a broad-ranging, multi-disciplinary subject, a comprehensive information system on environment would necessarily
involve effective participation of concerned institutions/ organisations in the country that are actively engaged in work relating to different
subject areas of environment.
ENVIS has, therefore, developed itself with a network of such participating institutions/organisations for the programme to be meaningful. A large number of nodes, known as ENVIS Centre, have been established in the network to cover the broad subject areas of environment with a Focal Point in the Ministry of Environment & Forests.
Both the Focal Point as well as the ENVIS Centre have been assigned various responsibilities to achieve the Long-term & Short-term
objectives. For this purpose, various services has been introduced by the Focal Point.
ENVIS due to its comprehensive network has been designed as the National Focal Point (NFP) for INFOTERRA, a global environmental
information network of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
In order to strengthen the information activities of the NFP, ENVIS was designated as the Regional Service Centre (RSC) of INFOTERRA of UNEP in
1985 for the South Asia Sub-Region countries.
What is ENVIS
ENVIS is a
decentralised system with a network of distributed subject oriented Centres ensuring integration of national efforts in environmental
information collection, collation, storage, retrieval and dissemination to all concerned. Presently the ENVIS network consists of Focal Point
at the Ministry of Environment and Forest and ENVIS Centres setup in different organisations/establishments in the country in selected areas
of environment. These Centres have been set up in the areas of pollution control, toxic chemicals, central and offshore ecology,
environmentally sound and appropriate technology, bio-degradation of wastes and environment management, etc.
ENVIS focal point ensures integration of national efforts in environmental information collection, collation, storage, retrieval and
dissemination to all concerned.
To strengthen ENVIS in disseminating information pertaining to environment and sustainable development, ENVIS India is in the process
of establishing Eighty Five ENVIS Nodes by involving Organizations, institutions, Universities and Government departments working in
diverse areas of environment.
ENVIS India has already established Eighty One partner nodes, which include Thirty government departments, Thirty Six Institutions and
Fifteen NGOs. These nodes are supposed to create websites on specific environment related subject areas.
The responsibility of the ENVIS Centres and Nodes are :
Establishment of linkages with all information sources, and creation of data bank on selected parameters in the subject area
Identification of information gaps.
Publish newsletters and Bulletins.
Develop library facility and provide support to the focal point on the subject area. Most importantly serve as interface for the users on the assigned subject.
Both the Focal Point as well as the ENVIS Centres have been assigned various responsibilities. The broad responsibilities of the Focal Point
and ENVIS Centres are as under:-
Responsibilities of ENVIS Centres
Overall coordination of ENVIS network
Identification of ENVIS Centres in specialised areas, their location in selected institutes/organisations and their linkage with the Focal Point
Farming guidelines and uniform designing procedures for ENVIS Centres
Collection, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information on areas in which ENVIS Centres have not been established and in some general areas of environment like environmental research, environmental policy and management, environmental legislation, environmental impact assessment,
Responding to user queries directly or through the ENVIS Centres
of Data Bank containing data on some selected parameters, and computerisation in important application areas of environment
Identification of data gaps and knowledge gaps in specified subject areas and action to fill these gaps
Liaison with relevant International Information Systems and other national information systems
Publication of a quarterly abstracting journal Paryavaran Abstracts
Bringing out various other publications on current awareness services
Organising training and seminars
Monitoring and reviewing of ENVIS
Assisting the Scientific Advisory Committee of ENVIS with inputs and rendering other secretarial help
Building up a good collection of books, reports and journals in the particular subject area of environment
Establishment of linkages with all information sources in the particular subject area of environment
Responding to user queries;
Establishment of a data bank on some selected parameters relating to the subject area
Coordination with the Focal Point for supplying relevant, adequate and timely information to the users
Helping the Focal Point in gradually up an inventory of information material available at the Centre; identification of information gaps in
the specified subject areas and action to fill these gaps;
Bringing out newsletters/publications in their subject area for wide dissemination
ENVIS Centre Long-term objectives:
- To build up a repository and dissemination center in Environmental Science and Engineering
- To gear up the modern technologies of acquisition, processing, storage,
retrieval and dissemination of information of environmental nature
- To support and promote research, development and innovation in environmental information technology
ENVIS Centre Short-term objectives :
- To provide national environmental information service relevant to present needs and capable of development to meet the future needs of the users,
originators, processors and disseminators of information
- To build up storage, retrieval and dissemination capabilities with the ultimate objectives of disseminating information speedily to the users
- To promote, national and international cooperation and liaison for exchange of environment related information
- To promote, support and assist education and personnel training programs designed to enhance environmental information processing and
- To promote exchange of information amongst developing countries