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The growth in the number of civil servants represents the dedication of more professionals to meet the demands of the population for quality public services. In education alone, the number of active employees increased from 165,163 in 2002 to 247,961 in December 2013, an increase of 50.1% — more precisely, by 82,798 public servants.
What the opposition calls swelling of the machine, the Lula and Dilma governments call improvement of services to the population and, in the specific case of education, the opening the door to opportunities for social and economic inclusion for all Brazilians: rich, poor, white, blacks, Indians, residents of the capital cities or in the back lands.
A revolution that is only possible with more elementary schools, more teachers, better pay, more technical schools, better-equipped laboratories and more universities. In 2001 there were 45,900 teachers in federal universities and technical schools. In 2011, that number had doubled to 90,000. This was not bloating the machine, but rather planning and political will to create another 422 technical schools between 2003 and 2014, a jump from 140 to 562 schools, and another 18 federal universities, with 173 campuses throughout Brazil.
In Health, the More Doctors program enabled the hiring of 14,000 new professionals through June 2014. The initiative had a major impact in the poorest regions of the country and the outskirts of large cities. More Doctors is one of the measures taken to broaden and improve the care of the SUS (Unified Health System) in regions where there is shortage of professionals.
And the number of vacancies in the public health system will further increase. By 2015, there will be over 35,000 new public health jobs due to construction of new health clinics and 24h UPAs around the country. To democratize access to a university education, the government created programs like ProUni, Reuni, Fies and the quota system, opening the doors of higher education institutes to all Brazilians. In health this meant an increase of 10,000 to 17,000 in the number of vacancies in the field of medicine between 2002 and 2012, representing growth of 60%.
The Lula and Dilma governments also implemented the hiring of public servants through competitions in the public safety field. Between 2003 and 2009, there was an increase of 1,889 Federal Highway Policemen and 3,631 new personnel within the Federal Police.
The expansion of services the government offers citizens will continue. Dilma’s government has already announced for 2014 public competitions for hiring 66,678 new public servants for the federal government. This will place more qualified professionals in a position to serve the people, increasingly improving the quality of the services being delivered.
Thanks to the federal government’s public servant hiring policy, many qualified professionals have gotten work and mainly serve the populations that most need services. This was the case of Otan de Lima Pereira, 31, who was born in the Raposa Serra do Sol indigenous area, on the northern edge of Roraima.
"The health of my community was very precarious. There were practically no doctors’ visits, it was just a nurse who came," recalls Otan, who resolved to become a doctor. "I wanted to study medicine here in Roraima, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible. In the period I tried, in 2002 and 2003, there were only 20 vacancies for 30,000 candidates at the Federal University of Roraima (UFRR)," he remembers.
A chance to study medicine in Venezuela appeare. Now, thanks to the More Doctors program, he is responsible for providing care in the Pedra Branca and Maturuca medical outposts.
There is a lot of misinformation and bad faith in the discussion of the need for strengthening public institutions, especially those that directly serve the citizen. Supporters of a Minimal State are the first to attack the supposed bloated machine. For them, Brazil should follow the example of the so-called First World countries: reducing personnel and maintenance costs of the government, giving private initiative the prerogative of providing essential services to the population.
What they do not say is that in many of the world's most developed countries the proportion of public servants in relation to population is much higher than that which exists in Brazil. A study by IPEA (Institute of Applied Economic Research) shows this ratio in Brazil is 5.52 per thousand inhabitants. Germany has 6.10 public servants per thousand inhabitants. Mexico has 8.46, the U.S. has 9,82 and South Korea, 11.75 per thousand.
An example of the actions of the vaunted "Minimum State" was the creation of the neoliberal Light in the Field program 1999. Under the program, families that lacked electricity could request installation from suppliers, but they had to pay for the service. Unable to afford the high costs, poor rural families continued in the dark. Everything changed with the Light for All Program, established in 2003 by the Lula government. Now, installation costs are the responsibility of the State. Result: In 11 years of operation 15.2 million Brazilians gained access to electricity, jumping from the darkness of the 19th century into 21st century citizenship rights.