Vodafone Idea said on Tuesday it is giving the Indian government a 35.8% stake in the company after its board approved conversion of dues and spectrum auction instalments into equity to save the third-largest telecom operator in the country from collapsing. From a report: The operator, a joint venture between the British telecoms group Vodafone and local billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s conglomerate, has been attempting to avoid a collapse for several years after the arrival of Reliance Jio, which undercut the competitors with cheap data and free calls offering. Vodafone Idea, additionally, owed New Delhi dues of roughly $6.76 billion. Following the conversion into equity, Vodafone Group’s shareholding will be diluted to 28.5% while Aditya Birla Group’s will shrink to 17.8%. The Indian government will become the largest shareholder in the wireless telecom operator. […] Tuesday’s announcement comes months after the Indian government gave operators more time to pay dues on a two-decade dispute last year.