The Union Minister for Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) last week asked the states of the region to submit proposals for new development projects, apart from pressing them for expediting the various ongoing projects. This is a significant directive in that it contains two messages. One, that the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, considers the Northeast as ‘Astalakshmi’ and the New Growth-Engine of the Country, is keen on funding more developmental projects in the region. And, two, certain ongoing projects across the region are lagging behind the schedule for completion. The first message must be hailed by all. But preparation of proposals for fresh developmental projects for the region must be through a transparent system where the developmental needs of the people must get priority over short-term political exigency. One small example – Chief Ministers of all the states often crib over slow pace of development in the border areas, be they the areas along international boundaries wit Bhutan, China, Myanmar or Bangladesh, or be they along inter-state boundaries. Under-development or lack of development in those areas has resulted in exodus of people from the border areas to the urban centres. This is particularly true with Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, and there is no second opinion on this. In the overall context of the DoNER Minister asking the Chief Ministers to expedite ongoing projects, it is important to note that it was only recently that three sanctioned projects of the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE) under the Ministry of DoNER has become a cause for concern, and that the implementing agencies have come in for some criticism at a recent meeting of the empowered inter-ministerial committee (EIMC) of PM-DevINE. As was reported earlier by this newspaper, three particular projects worth Rs 240.99 crore which were sanctioned under PM-DevINE for central and other agencies of the Northeastern region, have been suffering because the momentum to implement them has been lacking as yet. In this context one must keep in mind that development of the Northeastern region must be freed of typical hurdles which bureaucrats having little attachment to the region are known for creating. The most significant part of the story is that the mindset, outlook and approach of Delhi towards the Northeast have drastically changed for good in the past one decade. Thus, politicians, bureaucrats, and above all, the people of the region too must change their mindset and work in unison for the overall good of the Northeast.