Comptroller and Auditor General of India Girish Chandra Murmu said that consistent interactions are needed between Auditors and Railways at the zonal level.
On Tuesday while addressing the workshop of the Director General of Audit of all 17 railway zones, CAG Murmu said, “To have quality audit products warrants effective use of Information Technology. Since we have started 100 per cent implementation of OIOS from April 1, it is imperative that it may be integrated with a suitable interface for the seamless handshake of existing IT systems of the Indian Railways”.
CAG Murmu mentioned that rapid infrastructure by railways has brought new challenges to the auditors.
“Rapid infrastructure development and expansion in railways have brought new challenges to the auditors to adapt to the changing environment by bringing appropriate changes in auditing skills and tools,” he said.
“With the growth of road infrastructure and advancement in the road transportation system, the Railways is bound to face stiff competition. Hence, all internal earnings that are generated from the core, as well as, non-core operations of railways require serious attention of auditors,” he added.
CAG Murmu praised the Railway Board for taking several audit initiatives.
“He reserved words of praise for some of the newer initiatives undertaken with the Railway Board such as the Audit Plan 2023-24 and several relevant audit themes. The auditors must interact regularly not only at the Railway Board level but at the zonal level. The issues regarding sharing of information and audit observations must be regularly discussed,” the official statement said.
“The role of audit assumes significance as an aid to the management when it achieves optimal utilization of scarce resources. To achieve this, the quality of interface with the auditee is very important,” it mentioned.
The CAG also mentioned that in recent years, several significant audits have been taken up on the Indian Railways. They include auditing of track renewal works, augmentation of station line capacity, dedicated freight corridor, punctual running of passenger trains, derailment, safety operations, unmanned level-crossings, contractual issues, and passenger amenities, among others.
“In addition to these issues, we need to cover cross-subsidization, operating ratio, lease payments, pension liability and its impact on railway finances, green energy initiatives, the system of project approval including approval for time and cost over-run, inter-zonal comparison of the performance on selected items of works, analysis of investment pattern of railway commercial undertakings, including dividend payment,” said Murmu.
On the occasion, Deputy CAG (Railways) Ila Singh said that Railways is planning to deploy more resources to performance audit and thematic audit.
“We intend to deploy more resources to performance audit and thematic audit. The issues to be covered include functioning and management of Rail Land Development Authority, catering management, cleanliness and sanitation of long-distance stations under the Swachh Bharat Mission, Functioning of the Centre for Rail Information System, track maintenance, private siding etc,” she said.