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 necessarlly 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 Centres, 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 Centres 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.