ENVIS was set up as a Central Scheme in December 1982 (Sixth Plan). The first Centre was set up on 28.09.1983, followed by three more during 1983-84. Over the course of time, and in recognition of the fact that environment and ecology are multi-disciplinary fields, new subject areas emerged, thereby expanding the Network. Further, with the advent of the Internet and other new mechanisms in information technology, the ENVIS scheme had to rapidly metamorphose and stay apace with developments. Involvement of State Governments/ Union Territory(UT) Administrations and specialized and reputed institutions country-wide on various themes/ subject areas was also felt to be necessary to achieve comprehensive coverage of information.
The subject area for States/UTs ENVIS Centers was the status of environment and related issues. The network was expanded gradually with the involvement of thematic subject-areas and State Government/UT departments to make it a more comprehensive environmental information network. ENVIS network at present consists of a chain of 69 network partners out of which 40 are on subject-specific and 29 on State/UT related issues. These network partners are called ENVIS Centers and are located in the notable organizations/institutions/State/UT Government Departments/Universities throughout the country. The focal point of ENVIS is located in the Ministry and assists the Environment Information (EI) Division in coordinating the activities of all the ENVIS network partners by making ENVIS a web-enabled comprehensive information system.