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Seemingly unfazed at being ousted from the Asian Athletics Association, scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi on Monday said losing the presidential re-election bid to Qatar’s Dahlan Jumaan Al-Hamad has actually given him a chance to work at the “grassroots” level.
“I have no issues today and I congratulate Mr Al-Hamad for being elected as President. I am rather relieved that I will be able to work at the grassroots level in athletics,” Mr. Kalmadi said after losing the vote during the ongoing AAA Congress in Pune.

International News

Putin's poll promises to cost state $170 bn

Saturday - Feb 18, 2012, 11:48am (GMT+5.5)
[+] Text [-]

Moscow - Lavish social spending promised by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in his bid to return to the presidency will cost the state at least 5.1 trillion rubles ($170 billion) over six years, the Central Bank said.

The list includes wage hikes for healthcare professionals, school teachers and college professors, as well as increased child support, bigger student stipends and more funding to provide housing to war veterans.

The spending is to grow throughout the next six years, which is the new duration of a presidential term. Putin, who was president in 2000-2008, expects to get the Kremlin job back at the elections in March despite mounting anti-government sentiment.

Putin’s list of social promises, outlined in an article in Komsomolskaya Pravda Monday, is quite extensive, but many of them, such as curbing alcoholism in the country, are too vague to allow for financial estimates.

The planned spending is modest compared to the government’s other financial plans, the crown jewel among which is the 20 trillion rubles earmarked for the military through 2020.

But the plan can still result in budget deficit of 0.5 to 1.5 percent if oil prices slide under $95 from last year’s $109 per barrel, the Central Bank experts said.

Analyst Yulia Tseplyayeva of BNP Paribas said the deficit can reach up to 3 percent of the state budget if Putin’s campaign promises voiced in four earlier articles are factored in.

Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, ousted last year by President Dmitry Medvedev for criticizing his military spending plans, said in October that the government will need 20 trillion rubles to pay for all its pension and salary hike plans.


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