An evaluation of rural development planning in Iran after the Revolution 1979
With the industrial revolution and huge emigration from villages to cities in developed countries, and later on with the changing balance between the Urban and Rural residents in third world countries, because of the poverty and lack of basic services in rural areas, rural development has become a major problem in the world, especially in third world countries. Iran, as one of such countries, has been faced with this problem, and some reforms for changing the situation and providing more acceptable living conditions for the rural people have been established and implemented. After the Revolution in 1979, the Islamic Government has its roots in the poor people who supported the Revolution in different stages so the effective factors for such improvements in rural condition are included in the revolutionary Constitution and later on in the National Development Programmes. The statements in the Constitution Law and the establishment of two independent agencies, Bonyad-e-Maskan & Jahad-e-Sazandegi, to deal with rural problems, have resulted in the start of Rural Development Planning activities. The national aims developed by the policymaker for development in rural areas in this regard are to: "Create necessary social, cultural and economic conditions necessary for development, and providing necessary possibilities and physical improvements and necessary facilities for improving housing and other environmental basic public services." With this overall policy, development activity has started with the aim of improvement in the standard of life for rural areas. Up to 1997, about 1000 plans have been prepared and 370 have been implemented. This research is looking to investigate the implemented cases, to evaluate the degree of success or failure and to make conclusions and recommendations. With this aim, the research includes a literature review, in the context of development planning, specifically Rural Development Planning, and then an investigation of Iranian Constitutional Law, the National Programmes, the agencies and Iranian planning organisation to be able to make an evaluation framework and design a process for case studies and data collection, in a qualitative approach to the research. With 59 cases which had passed their first five years period of planning, 13 cases have been chosen, of which five have been studied in detail, each with an individual field study report, leading to specific and general conclusions, which are divided into two parts. Firstly from the literature review, which draws the main points to establish the desired achievements for successful development planning in rural areas. Secondly the conclusions apply to all parts of the rural development process in Iran, from policy making to implementation and with recommendations for the overall process in principle and in detail and relating to the agencies and resources involved. The main results from the case studies have identified gaps and weaknesses in the process and therefore have lead to recommendations as to how the process would be more successful. It shows that the rural development planning, as part of the national development programme, needs: i) To have more accurate regional plans in advance in order to define the main potentials in each region, and to provide guidelines appropriate to each, ii) To ensure the correct designation of the villages which are to be planned; iii) To encourage the appointed consultants to follow best practice for plan-preparation; iv) To provide the necessary administrative organisation, with the powers and resources to be able to carry out the process; and v) To improve implementation.