IS-17802, Standards for Accessibility of ICT products and services issued under RPWD (Amendment) Rules

Dear Colleagues,

Digital accessibility is not just a matter of convenience but also a matter of civil rights. India has also enacted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 ensuring non-discrimination and equal opportunities.  However, many users continue to face challenges in accessing websites and mobile applications rendering them dependent on others for simple activities in  this fast paced technology driven life such as booking a taxi or ordering online food or groceries.  

To address inaccessibility challenges, the Bureau of Indian Standard  (through its Committee LITD 35: Active Assisted Living) developed an Indian Standard 17802 to provide a set of accessibility requirements that specify how to make content accessible, primarily for the people with disabilities and also for all the end users. BIS standards are voluntary documents unless anchored in a law for mandatory legal compliance.

IS 17802 notified by Govt. of India

Happy to share with you that the Government of India has now issued the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Amendment) Rules, 2023 notifying IS 17802 Accessibility for the ICT Products and Services as the ICT Standards under Section 15 vide Gazette notification G.S.R. 359(E) dated 10th May, 2023

Compliance of IS 17802 now mandatory

The standard is legally enforced from 11th May, 2023 after its notification under Rule 15 of RPWD Rules by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) thereby amending the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017. 

IS 17802 aligns with the global accessibility standards and guidelines such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act, and the European Standard EN-301 549 

IS 17802: Specific Requirements 

The standard clearly mentions following specific requirements, among others:- 

  • Text alternatives for images and videos – Images, audios and videos must be accompanied by descriptive or alternative text to facilitate understanding for those with visual impairments. 
  • Keyboard navigation – Users who cannot operate a mouse must be able to navigate websites using only keyboard inputs. 
  • Colour Contrast – Implement clear colour differentiation to aid users with visual impairments in distinguishing content. 
  • Focus Management – To reduce confusion for users, it is required to ensure a predictable order of focus while navigating websites. 
  • Compatibility with assistive technologies – Ensure seamless integration with screen readers and other assistive aids/technology. 

Why compliance of IS 17802 important? 

It is not just a legal mandate but Indian businesses will benefit immensely by adhering to this standard: 

  • Access to untapped markets and demographics 
  • Expanded customer base 
  • Reduced legal risks 
  • Compliance with regulatory standards 
  • Improved SEO performance 
  • Enhanced brand reputation 
  • Enhanced user experience 

How the Rule 15 now looks like after this addition:

This standard has been inserted in the RPWD Rules as Section 15(1)(c) (iii). Now the Rule 15 reads as under:


15. Rules for Accessibility. - (1) Every establishment shall comply with the following standards relating to physical environment, transport and information and communication technology, namely :-

(a) standard for public buildings as specified in the Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Built Environment for Persons With Disabilities and Elderly Persons as issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Urban Development in March, 2016;

(b) standard for Bus Body Code for transportation system as specified in the notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, vide number G.S.R. 895(E), dated the 20th September, 2016;

(c) Information and Communication Technology -

(i) website standard as specified in the guidelines for Indian Government websites, as adopted by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of India;

(ii) documents to be placed on websites shall be in Electronic Publication (ePUB) or Optical Character Reader (OCR) based Pdf format:

(iii) Websites, apps, information and communication technology based public facilities and services, electronic goods and equipment which are meant for everyday use, information and communication technology based consumer products and accessories for general use with persons with disabilities, and other products and services which are based on information and communication technology, shall comply with the Indian standards IS 17802 (Part 1), 2021 and IS 17802 (Part 2), 2022, published by the Bureau of Indian Standards vide notification numbers HQ-PUB013/1/2020-PUB-BIS(278), dated the 24th December, 2021 and HQ-PUB013/1/2020-PUB-BIS(358), dated the 4th May, 2022, respectively as amended from time to time [sub para (iii) inserted vide RPWD Amenment rules 2023 issued vide G.S.R. 359(E) dated 10 May 2023]

Provided that the standard of accessibility in respect of other services and facilities shall be specified by the Central Government within a period of six months from the date of notification of these rules

(2) The respective Ministries and Departments shall ensure compliance of the standards of accessibility specified under this rule through the concerned domain regulators or otherwise."

Download/ Access the three relevant documents below:

  • RPWD Rules Amendment notification  issued vide Gazette notification G.S.R. 359(E) dated 10th May, 2023


  • Indian Standard: IS 17802 - Accessibility for the ICT Products and Services (Part 1 :Requirements)


  • Indian Standard: IS 17802 - Accessibility for the ICT Products and Services (Part 2 : Determination of Conformance)