Centre asks states to remove local taxes on essential commodities, making them cheaper. In Picture: Pulses kept on display for sale in a shop in Ahmedabad, India [Representational Image]Reuters

To check the spiralling prices of pulses, the Modi government has decided to buy 40,000 tonne pulses from farmers to create a buffer.

"The government will purchase 30,000 tonnes of tur dal and 10,000 tonnes of urad dal from farmers at market rates," Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan told reporters in New Delhi on Friday, reported PTI.

This comes within days of the NDA government deciding to import pulses during an inter-ministerial meeting headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Balyan also said that the government will soon import 2,000 tonne tur dal, after having imported 5,000 tonne through state-owned MMTC, even as he acknowledged that hoarders are taking advantage of rising dal prices caused by a production shortfall due to poor rainfall in India, coupled with short supply in the global market.

The retail prices of urad dal have almost doubled in about 12 months, from about Rs 100 per kg a year ago to about Rs 190 per kg now.

In tandem, retail prices of tur dal too have shot up to Rs 190 per kg at many places in India, up sharply from Rs 85 per kg a year ago, adds the PTI report.

The spike in dal prices has led to people criticising the Modi government on social media for its failure to rein in food inflation, with the hashtag #DalRatanDhanKhoyo on Twitter. The hashtag has been taken from an upcoming film "Prem Ratan Dhan Payo" featuring Salman Khan.

Congress member Aneela Nadar tweeted: "TV Reports show rampant hoarding & black marketing Of Pulses (DAL) but modi govt has turned a blind eye."

Another user, LataCongressi *SWL* posts, "Modi's mis management -> dal chawal no more a staple food for poor indians! Modi fails badly!!"

Some of the tweets had clear political overtones. "Wwant to eat beef go to Pakistan want to eat daal, wait fr 2019 fr @INCIndia to come to power qed," says Vinod Dokania.

"Never knew that Chicken would be cheaper than Dal, the basic nutritional food for the poor," says Uttam Kumar Reddy. 

"Dal is favourite food of Modi's Mom.She too wd be cursing his son today. Nikama eis Umar ma dal khana bi naseb nahi," goes a tweet by Salman Nizami.

"It is not at all essential to eat Dal. In Modi rule, you can taste it viscerally by just seeing and smelling it," says SoulCONGRESS, sarcastically.

At a time when the Modi government is already being cornered for irresponsible statements on beef ban by the BJP leaders, some have criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's much-hyped 'Digital India' also.