Department of Biotechnology under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology has produced a set of CD based information called “Jeeva Sampada” which is the first digital documentation of India's vast bio-resources covering over 39,000 species. With several images, distribution maps, and an interactive data retrieval system, the production presents 10 modules on taxonomy distribution, uses, chemical composition, economic potential and other literature. It covers 2,700 medicinal and economically important plants, 9,000 species of animals, 17,000 microbes and 7,000 marine organisms.
Releasing this database, Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said that the production was intended for students, teachers and the lay public to ecologists, conservation-biologists, foresters, policy makers and patent offices. Sibal also launched a web portal called Indian Bio-resource Information Network to connect otherwise independent databases and information on the country's bio-diversity through a single window for the convenience of research scientists, bio-resources managers, policy makers, entrepreneurs and the interested reader. The University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehra Dun will hold parts of the spatial and non-spatial databases respectively. The portal is available at www.ibin.co.in.
Along with these, Sibal also released an atlas of maps covering the biodiversity of the East Coast, Eastern Ghats, and Central India prepared using geo-spatial data generated under a joint project of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Space (DOS). These organizations used satellite remote sensing and the geographical information system to provide location-specific information for more than 5,000 plant species, and their current status. The maps are expected to be of value in identifying areas of high priority for bio-prospecting and conservation.
According to Sibal, the databases will cover 42% of the country's total forest cover and have been integrated into a web-enabled biodiversity information system to facilitate dissemination and use of the data. The DBT and DOS had earlier released similar maps in 2002 for eastern and western Himalayas, Western Ghats, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands covering 44% of the nation’s forest cover.