Though the GST is supposed to simply the taxes and probably reduce the tax burden on consumers for majority of their purchases, the general impression created by the merchants has been somewhat opposite. Multiple weeks of pre-GST sale melas preceding July 1st made all feel as if the GST is going to bring doom on the consumers. And during this weekend, whichever shop I visited, the people in the cash counters were explaining me that the bill amount would be more because of increased GST, etc.
It appears like there is no direction on passing the benefits of "input tax credit" that the merchants receive to end consumers. So, wherever the tax rate has gone up, the consumers have to take up the burden for the extra tax, and if I understand it correctly, the merchants can now effectively pocket a part of that tax, equivalent to the input tax credit they receive, mapping to the item sold.
I wish there was a mechanism for the end consumers also to receive some sort of "tax credit" for the GST amount which the merchant has levied from them, so that they can adjust it against their regular income tax, and avoid double taxation? Perhaps this can be easily done for non-cash transactions, since the credit cards, debit cards etc. are linked to the PAN of the consumer? This would be a good encouragement for all consumers to go "cashless". Without such a mechanism, I am not too sure if GST will bring much changes in the lives of ordinary people.