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Lula Relaunches Poverty Alleviation Scheme, Targets 33 mn Brazilians

The $33.65 billionBolsa Familia programme would provide a monthly basic subsidy of $115 to 21 million families.
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Around 21 million Brazilian families would receive a monthly basic subsidy of $115, $29 per child of six years and younger, and an additional payment of $9.60 for each child between 7 and 18 with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silvarelaunching his Bolsa Familia (Family Fund) programme on Thursday.

The scheme, which aims to rescue around 33 million Brazilians from hunger, was in force during Lula’s first two terms (2003-2010). In 2010, his government claimed to have lifted about 40 million people out of poverty.

Under the $33.65 billion programme, equivalent to about 1.5% of Brazil’s GDP, financial aid would be provided to around 60 million people.

Under the conditional cash transfer programme, the monthly basicsubsidy would increase by $29 for each child under six years.In all cases of monetary transfer for children, the families must ensure that they attend school and are vaccinated up to date.

The subsidy could represent up Brazil’s minimum wage of $250 depending on the specific situation of its beneficiaries.

“This programme does not belong to an administration or a president. It belongs to the whole of society,”Lula said relaunching the programme. Society must monitor and ensure that “the money reaches whoever is in poverty”, he added.

Admitting that the programme “will not solve all of the country’s problems”, Lula said, “The biggest challenge is to get the economy growing again so all workers can earn a living wage.” The goal can only be achieved if the “state once again becomes the driver of the economic process”, he added.

Lula’s predecessorJair Bolsonaro continued the programme though it covered fewer families with the elimination of the school and health requirements.Many such families subsequently fell below the poverty.

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