India to spend 50bn rupees on rooftop solar power

India has earmarked 50 billion rupees to pay for the installation of rooftop solar panels over the next five years that will generate up to 4,200 megawatts of power, the government said on Wednesday.

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet increased the funding from an earlier 6bn rupees to encourage households, government bodies, hospitals and educational institutions to install the rooftop solar panels.

Private firms cannot claim the subsidy.

The government has set a target of generating 100,000 MW of electricity from solar panels by 2022 to overcome an acute power shortage.

Separately, Mr Modi’s cabinet backed a civil nuclear deal that India and Australia ratified this year to bolster nuclear power generation in the south Asian nation, according to statements issued afterwards.

The ministers also approved an agreement between India and the Maldives to curb tax evasion by preventing illicit funds being stashed outside the country. Such funds are often hidden abroad to avoid local taxes.

The cabinet also gave its nod to a proposal to float joint venture companies between the federal railways and state governments to beef up India’s decrepit rail network.

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