A new minister has been selected to lead the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) following the withdrawal of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee prior to the group’s meeting to rule on the recommendations for the upcoming spectrum auction. According to the Daily News, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has stepped in to fill Pranab’s shoes as the EGoM convenes to make a decision regarding the controversial proposals put forward by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The EGoM has the final say on reserve spectrum price, mortgaging spectrum and deferred payments. As previously noted by CommsUpdate, industry players railed against the suggested base prices for spectrum, with Telenor of Norway and Russia’s Sistema threatening to join the growing list of foreign investors withdrawing from the Indian telecom sector, should the recommendations be approved in their current form. No date was given for the EGoM’s meeting, though lengthy delays will cause the government to miss its 31 August deadline for the auction.