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Best Practices: Auditors from India, Mongolia and Russia Share Experience in Auditing Railway Operations

Best Practices: Auditors from India, Mongolia and Russia Share Experience in Auditing Railway Operations

On June 28, auditors from India, Mongolia and Russia met in Suzdal, Russia to hold a multilateral seminar on best practices in auditing railway operations and multimodal transportation.

The representatives of the regional audit institutions (RAIs) of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation as well as of Russian Railways also took part in the seminar.

Members of the Board Mr. Valery Bogomolov and Ms. Svetlana Orlova presented the experience of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation. Mr. Aleksandr Avdeev, the Governor of the Vladimir Region, gave opening remarks.

The participants of the seminar discussed topical issues of auditing major investment projects to develop railway infrastructure and improve the quality and efficiency of freight and passenger transportation. They put emphasis on the activities of suburban passenger companies, government and business measures aimed at fostering intermodal freight transportation. The speakers also focused on topical issues of public administration and the development of a relevant regulatory framework for its improvement.

Mr. Valery Bogomolov spoke in detail about the main stages of the audit of railway transport infrastructure projects conducted by the Accounts Chamber. The preliminary stage covers the analysis of the construction progress and technical readiness of individual facilities. Another focus is the budget execution and the reasons for non-disbursement. The main stage includes the review of legitimacy and effectiveness of financial spending. At the final stage, specialists submit a report, requirements and information letters with recommendations.

In order to optimize the work, Russian Railways has connected the Accounts Chamber to an automated legal information system for railway transport at our request. This allows us to determine audit objectives and issues and formulate hypotheses at the preliminary stage. We can provide analytics in such a way that at the audit main stage we focus on the identified risks, paying special attention to the most problematic issues. In addition, this allows us, on the one hand, to increase audit efficiency, and on the other hand, not to overburden Russian Railways with questions during the audit,

the auditor said.

Also he stressed the importance of the SAI’s audit recommendations. In accordance with the recommendation of SAI Russia, Russian Railways has established the relations with potential shippers and also stopped making capital investments and fully paying for design and survey work before passing the state examination.

We see that Russian Railways is very attentive to the fulfillment of our requirements and takes into account recommendations.


Ms. Svetlana Orlova particularly noted in her report the growing role of public administration in the development of major transport and logistics infrastructure projects.

Taking into account the reorientation of exports, we have to determine the tasks and mechanisms for bridging the prospects of implementing investment projects and transport development schemes. This includes the development of port infrastructure for promising cargo flows an increase in cargo transshipment. The Baikal–Amur Mainline (BAM) and the Trans-Siberian Railway (Transsib) are to be modernized. No less significant is the Northern Latitudinal Railway project, which includes the construction of two large bridges to reduce the congestion of the BAM and the Transsib. These projects are vital for the Russian Far East and the whole country,

she emphasized.

Ms. Orlova paid particular attention to the importance of strengthening international cooperation, including in the economy.

This requires a comfortable regulatory environment, the establishment of unified rules and approaches to audit in the partner countries. This will allow all types of business to develop more actively, increase investment attractiveness, which will ultimately contribute to the further growth of our economies.

At the seminar, representatives of SAI India and Mongolia spoke about the railway operations and multimodal transportation projects.

The practice of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India was presented by Mr. Sandip Roy, Director General of Audit, Central Railway, and Ms. Suhasini Gotmare, Principal Director of Audit, South Central Railway. They noted that multimodal transportation could significantly cut freight costs and reduce carbon emissions.

Mr. Roy outlined Indian Railways' environmental initiatives, in particular plans to electrify routes and reduce diesel consumption. Thus, IR plans to electrify 100% of routes by December 2023 and gradually reduce diesel fuel consumption by 2.8 billion liters per year.

Ms. Gotmare spoke about the development of dedicated freight corridors in India, which will help to significantly reduce the cost of operating trains and energy consumption. She spoke about the major Indian multimodal transport initiatives such as PMGATSHAKTI and its digital platform for integrated planning and execution of infrastructure projects. The audit of Dedicated Freight corridors had recommended more timely completion of projects and improved planning of feeder routes.  The audit of major infrastructure projects was also covered in the report. The main audit recommendations concerned improving efficiencies in time, cost and fund utilization for optimum progress.

Ms. Bolormaa Bold, audit manager of the Audit Management and Coordination Department, and Ms. Munkhjin Dashdorj, auditor of the Financial-Compliance Audit Department, presented the experience of the Mongolian National Audit Office.

Ms. Munkhjin briefly described the state of Mongolian railways in her report. The length of railways in Mongolia is 1,992.1 km. 27.9 million tons were transported using railway transport in 2022. In her report, Ms. Munkhjin also highlighted Mongolia's major initiatives to expand and reconstruct ports and border crossings such as Zamiin-Uud, Altanbulag, Bichigt, Gashuunsukhait, Shiveekhuren, Khangi and Bulgan. Much attention will be paid to the construction of loading and unloading and transshipment terminals.

Ms. Bolormaa spoke about current and future railway transport audits by SAI Mongolia. The construction of the railway between the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit, the Gashuunsukhait terminal, the Zuunbayan station and the Khangi border checkpoint is being audited. SAI Mongolia is planning to check the effectiveness of the Ulaanbaatar railway, as well as to conduct a real-time audit of the interim results of railway development projects and activities.

In addition, representatives of the regional control and accounts authorities, including Ms. Irina Tulyakova, Chair of the RAI of the Vladimir Region, Ms. Svetlana Guseva, Chair of the RAI of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, Mr. Konstantin Zheludkov, Chairman of the RAI of Saint Petersburg, and Mr. Yuriy Podshivalov, Deputy Chairman of the RAI of the Chelyabinsk Region, shared their experience in auditing transport and infrastructure projects. Mr. Anatoly Chabunin, Russian Railways Vice President – Director of Internal Control and Audit, also made a report.

In their concluding remarks, Mr. Subir Mallick, Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General of the Republic of India, and Mr. Sambuunyam Yadam, Principal Auditor – Director General of the Audit Management and Coordination Department of the Mongolian National Audit Office, reiterated the importance of railways as one of the prime drivers of national economies and highlighted the relevance of the seminar.

Mr. Valery Bogomolov, the auditor of the Accounts Chamber of Russia, concluded by stating

The modernization of the transport infrastructure and the improvement of the service quality for passenger and freight transportation are under the special control of the supreme audit institutions. These issues are associated with living standards for Russian citizens. I believe that today each of us has learned something new and got the opportunity to apply new practices in our daily work.

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