Realising the importance of Environmental Information, the Government of India, in December, 1982, established an Environmental Information System (ENVIS) as a plan programme. 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 organizations / 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 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.
1. Aims and Objectives: ENVIS focal point ensures integration of national efforts in environmental information collection, collation, storage, retrieval and dissemination to all concerned.
1.1 Long-term objectives
a) To build up a repository and dissemination centre in Environmental Science and Engineering;
b) To gear up the modern technologies of acquisition, processing, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information of environmental nature; and
c) To support and promote research, development and innovation in environmental information technology.
1.2 Short-term objectives
a) 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;
b) To build up storage, retrieval and dissemination capabilities with the ultimate objectives of disseminating information speedily to the users;
c) To promote, national and international cooperation and liaison for exchange of environment related information;
d) To promote, support and assist education and personnel training programmes designed to enhance environmental information processing and utilization capabilities;
e) To promote exchange of information amongst developing countries.
i) EMCBTAP: ENVIS has started implementing the World Bank assisted Environment Management Capacity Building Technical Assistance Project (EMCBTAP) since January, 2002 which aims at structuring the ENVIS scheme by extending its reach through involvement of Institutions / Organizations in State Governments, academia sector, corporate sector, NGO sector, etc.
ii) ENVIS-Nodes: To strengthen ENVIS in disseminating information pertaining to environment and sustainable development, ENVIS India establishes different ENVIS Nodes by involving Organizations, institutions, Universities and Government departments working in diverse areas of environment.
3. Conclusion: 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.