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Brazilian leader touts headway in cutting poverty


11:10, February 26, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff Monday hailed her "Brazil Without Poverty" program, saying that the country was close to eradicating extreme poverty.

In her weekly radio show, Rousseff said the program's recent expansion would lift 2.5 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty and usher in a new era for the country.

"We have turned the page, the definitive page on a long history of social exclusion and now we take another step towards a country without poverty," she said.

The program has surpassed expectations in both goals and deadlines, said Rousseff, who announced on Feb. 19 that the government was expanding its anti-poverty scheme to help 22 million people living in extreme poverty. The plan raises their per capita household income to 70 reals, or 35 U.S. dollars, through monthly cash grants.

"Due to the program' s great success, we assumed we could go farther," Rousseff said.

Rousseff said the challenge now was to identify some 700,000 families (about 2.5 million people) that should be receiving the grants. She urged state and municipal governments to help identify those families.

"We have a valuable network of local and state governments that can access all corners of this big country to identify the people who suffer from extreme poverty, so they can benefit from this program," Rousseff said.

In addition to the monthly grants, those families are also provided access to free medical care, school lunches for children, as well as school training for certain skills.

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