The Wealth of India - An Encyclopedia of India's Raw Material Resources

ISBN: 81-85038-00-7 (set)

The Wealth of India unit of CSIR-NIScPR, CSIR has released a folder for free distribution among scientists, entrepreneurs, students, NGOs and others. It has been published as an activity to join the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 celebrations by Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Canada . The folder is representing richness and diversity of the Wealth of India contents. Accordingly, it contains an EXTENSION BULLETIN on Killer Plants for Dengue Fever Mosquito. Hopefully, the awareness on availability of such a huge collection of information on Indian Biodiversity and Bioresources will be useful to rest of the world when it would be displayed on CBD website. Click here to download Wealth of India folder

The Wealth of India Division of CSIR-NIScPR organized a Workshop on Garden Trees Prospecting to celebrate World Environment Day 2012. Click here to see the video

Extension Bulletin on Seagrasses ((Wealth of India Raw Materials Series)

Precious Minerals in Everyday Life

About Wealth of India

The Wealth of India, an encyclopaedic series on India's raw material resources of plants, animals and minerals, details their occurrence, distribution, description, composition, utilization and trade. The series, known for its authenticity, is the quintessence of information scattered in a wide range of information sources. Each resource profile is a monographic presentation beginning with the correct nomenclature, the known names in vernacular, gives a brief description, chief areas of distribution in India, broad parameters of cultivation in case of plants, pathological problems in case of plants and animals, chemical constituents, products, utilization, production, consumption ( in case of minerals), and trade data.

A ready reckoner for researchers, entrepreneurs, plant-based industrialists and policy makers, it is acclaimed as a reference standard for information on raw materials of India particularly in the current global trend to incorporate traditional knowledge systems into the proprietary mainstream. Policy-planners use the information to prevent bio-piracy. It has in the recent past played a major role in India's claim for priority in the US patent case on turmeric.

Background and Coverage

The origin of the Wealth of India dates back to the end of the nineteenth century. The starting point is the authoritative six-volume Dictionary of Economic Products prepared by George Watt (1851-1931). The six volumes were published during 1889-1893; followed by an index in 1896. Watt was a medical graduate of the University of Glasgow who came to India in 1873. Though employed as a surgeon, he assiduously took to studying and collecting economic plants through field work. Ten years later, Watt received official sanction for his hobby, when he was asked to organize, during 1883-1884, an exhibition of Indian economic plants at Calcutta. Thus spurred, Watt spent the next 25 years of his life on his monumental dictionary. For this work he drew on his own notes, inputs from some 180 European and Indian correspondents, as well as on published government reports.

From the very beginning of their rule in India till the Second World War, the British were solely concerned with the agricultural and economic produce of India. The war forced new realities. The British required help from the industrial India in their war effort. It became clear that India's independence would be a mere matter of time after the war ended. India's preparations for its independence had already begun; there was now an ever-increasing participation by the Indians in the governance of their own country. When the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was set up in 1942, one of the first tasks it took up was the revision and expansion of Watt's Dictionary. The new work would be called The Wealth of India. It would not only run a series on raw materials, following Watt, but would also, as befit a new nation, focus on industrial products.

The A to Z of raw materials was covered in eleven volumes (along with two supplements) while the parallel series on industrial products comprised nine parts. All these titles were published during 1948-1976. When the first volume on raw materials came out in 1948, not unexpectedly it carried a foreword by India's first prime minister and science visionary, Jawaharlal Nehru. He wrote : "I have no doubt that this book... will be of great value to the builders of new India. It should be of value also in educating the average citizen, who should take interest in this fascinating land and its enormous potentialities". Nehru could not have foreseen the extended interest the series would generate not only in India but also elsewhere. As it has turned out, it is the raw wealth of India rather than the industrial wealth which has caught the world's eyes. Interest in the natural wealth of India has significantly increased in recent years because of the concerted efforts being made the world over to incorporate traditional knowledge systems into the proprietary mainstream.

The original raw materials series was taken up for revision and enlargement. Existing entries were sought to be updated and additional plants included. A total of three volumes (plus a supplement) of the revised series were brought out during 1985-1992. These titles covered entries from A to Ci.

Published series and volumes

A. The Wealth of India - Raw Materials Series
Volume Year of Publication Chief Editor/Director
I (A-B) 1948 B.L. Manjunath
II (C) 1950 B.N. Sastri
III (D-E) 1952 B.N. Sastri
IV (F-G) 1956 B.N. Sastri
Fish & Fisheries Supplement to Vol. IV 1962 B.N. Sastri
V (H-K) 1959 B.N. Sastri
VI (L-M) 1962 B.N. Sastri
Livestock (including Poultry) - Supplement to Vol. VI 1970

A. Krishnamurthi

VII (N-Pe) 1966 S.B. Deshaprabhu
VIII (Ph-Re) 1969 A. Krishnamurthi
IX (Rh-So) 1972 Y.R. Chadha
X (Sp-W) 1976 Y.R. Chadha
XI (X-Z) 1976 Y.R. Chadha
I (A) 1985 Y.R. Chadha
II (B) 1988 S.P. Ambasta
Birds Supplement to Vol. II 1990 G.P. Phondke
III (Ca-Ci) 1992 G.P. Phondke
B. The Wealth of India - Industrial Products Series
Part Year of Publication Chief Editor/Director
I (A-B) 1948 B.L. Manjunath
II (C) 1951 B.N. Sastri
III (D-E) 1953 B.N. Sastri
IV (F-H) 1957 B.N. Sastri
V (I-L) 1960 B.N. Sastri
VI (M-Pi) 1965 B.N. Deshaprabhu
VII (Pl-Sh) 1971 A. Krishnamurthi
VIII (Si-Ti) 1973 Y.R. Chadha
IX (To-Z) including index to Parts I-IX 1976 Y.R. Chadha

The Wealth of India - First Supplement Series

The First Supplement Series is a knowledgebase covering information for an 8-year updating period (1987-94) spanning c. 5000 entries from A to Z, on plants, animals and minerals. It is being published in five volumes in the style and format of the parent series and every effort has been made to give a cohesive presentation so as to easily blend with the parent volumes. The publication of this series has significant potential in the light of the present global trend to go herbal and look for alternate plant-based systems of medicine.The database is much sought after by small-scale plant-based industrialists as a ready reference for its authenticity, accuracy and compactness, especially in their search for herbal alternatives.

Volumes Published

Vol. 1 (A-Ci)

The first volume covers updated information on raw material sources from A to Ci with over 600 entries on plants, 4 on animals and 16 on minerals. The articles on Arachis, Artemisia, Bauxite, Bees, Brassica, Building Stones, Camel, Camellia, Catharanthus, Citrus, and Civet feature in great detail. The information coverage clearly reflects the changing trends in biological research integrating biotechnology, ethnobotany and sophisticated phytochemistry with emphasis on traditional systems of medicine. Statistical data has been presented in tabular form wherever available. A general index for easy reference is appended. A list of books and periodicals referred to in the volume is also provided.

( 2000; Rs 720)
Vol.2 (Cl-Cy)

Volume 2 covers information updates on more than 260 plants, 3 animals and 2 minerals falling within the alphabet Cl to Cy. The main features of the volume are exhaustive, fully revised, monographic articles on Claviceps, Clays, Corals, Curcuma, Cyamopsis, etc. The quintessence of information is augmented with tables on important varieties and statistical data on area, production, yield and trade.The remaining articles conform to the Supplement Series covering an updation period of 1987 to 1994. Other topics dealt in detail include: Cocos, Coffea, Crabs, Crocodiles, and Cymbopogon besides many others that have great potential in the future.

(2001; Rs 720)
Vol.3 (D-I)

Volume 3 brings together the updates on over 550 useful plants, 21 animals and 7 mineral entries within the alphabets D to I. Detailed profiles of Datura, Elaeis, Eucalyptus, Ficus, Glycine, Gossypium, Hevea, Hordeum among plants, Dogs & Wolves, Earthworms, Elephants among animals, and Gypsum among minerals, occupy centrespace in this volume. Besides, all the regular features of the predecessor volumes like cross-references, lists of books and journals cited in the volume, and a general index giving the synonyms of plants dealt with, English and vernacular names, drugs, products, active compounds, etc. are included for easy access to information.

(2002; Rs 425)
Vol.4 (J-Q)

The fourth and penultimate volume of the First Supplement Series presents the update profiles of entries spanning the alphabet J to Q. The volume includes 611 plant entries with major coverage on Jasminum, Lycopersicon, Mentha, Nicotiana, Oryza, and Prunus. With regard to animals, this volume with 16 entries has emerged as an aquaculture special with Molluscs; Oysters, Porpoises & Dolphins, and Prawns, Shrimps & Lobsters receiving detailed coverage. Of the 7 mineral entries, Lithium Minerals, Molybdenum Ores, and Platinum Minerals are described in greater details in the volume. All the regular features of the predecessor volumes like cross-references, lists of books and journals cited in the volume, and a general index giving the synonyms of plants dealt with, cultivars of crops, English, vernacular names and trade names, drug products, active principles and important chemical compounds, etc. also feature in this volume facilitating easy access to information.

(2003; Rs. 400)
Vol.5 (R-Z)

The fifth and final volume covering entries from Randia to Zygophyllum concludes the First Supplement Series The topics receiving major coverage include Solanum, Terminalia, Vigna, Zea, and Zingiber among plants; Silk & Silkworms, Starfishes, Tortoises & Turtles, and Whales among animals; and Steatite & Talc, Vermiculite, and Zirconium Minerals among the mineral raw materials. All the regular features of the predecessor volumes like cross-references, lists of books and journals cited in the volume, and a general index giving the synonyms of plants dealt with, cultivars of crops, common English, vernacular and trade names, drugs, products, active principles and important chemical compounds are also included in this volume, facilitating quick and easy access to information.

(2004; Rs. 720)
Contact Person: Mr. R.S. Jayasomu, Email: