The Central government is likely to merge the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA), the Goods and Services Tax (GST) watchdog, with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) by end of the year..The news comes as the tenure of the GST watchdog has expired, leaving behind 400 pending cases pertaining to customer complaints regarding non-receipt of tax cut benefits. Hinting at the possibility of the merger, a CCI official told Bar & Bench that the merger is an attempt of the government to reduce the number of statutory bodies for enhanced customer welfare. Reportedly, all the cases pending with the NAA will be taken up by the CCI post the merger..The NAA was constituted under Section 171 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, with an objective to ensure that the reduction in the rate of tax or the benefit of input tax credit is passed on to the recipient. The statutory body was constituted by the Central government to protect consumers from the random price increase for self-interest in the name of GST. The tenure of the body was extended till November 2020 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the 35th GST Council as the body was then receiving several complaints of profiteering by companies.Sources highlighted the positive side of the expected merger and said that it could possibly bring down the litigation burden for the Central government, as the constitutionality of NAA is under challenge before many courts. .The GST watchdog, though often criticized, has been in the news for taking action against pharmacies, drug retailers and hospitals on complaints filed for failing to pass GST cuts on life saving drugs and equipment to consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.