CHAPTER 3
Stores Management and Inventory Control in Railways

Section I

1.1.    Introduction

1.1.1    General

Stores play an important role in Railway's operations, maintenance and in-house production activities. Effective stores management ensures timely availability of essential items for efficient operations of the Railways with minimum blocking of capital by timely ascertaining the needs of stores and arranging such materials in the most efficient, economical and expeditious manner.

Stores Management encompasses the entire range of functions which affect the flow, conservation, utilisation, quality and cost of materials. These activities include materials planning, programming, purchasing, inventory control, receiving and warehousing, transportation, materials handling and disposal of scrap.

1.1.2    Railway Inventory

In nine Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) and Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), 198181 Priced Ledger (PL) items are stored in 217 depots (Source: Annual Report of Zonal Railways - Purchases plus Workshop Manufacture Items) The total receipt of stores during 2000-2001 were worth Rs.4212.20 crore and the value of inventory as on 31 March 2001 was Rs.668.91 crore (Source: One page summary of stores transactions) (Annexure XVI).

As per Para No.201 of Indian Railway Code for Stores Department, the material requirement of Railways is broadly classified into the following groups:

  • Engineering Stores

  • Spares for Locomotives

  • Spares for Carriage and Wagons

  • Electrical stores

  • Signalling & Telecommunication stores

  • General nature stores

1.1.3    Categorisation

The stock held in the Stores Depots may be either (a) Stock Items or (b) Non-Stock Items. Stock Items are further classified as (i) Ordinary Stores and (ii) Emergency Stores.

Stock Items:    These are items of stores, which are frequently and regularly required. All stock items are given unique identification numbers called Priced Ledger Number (PL No) for easy identification and standardisation across the Railways.

Ordinary Stores:    These are items of stores for which there is a regular turnover caused by a constant demand and which are stocked by the Stores department in its depots.

Emergency Stores:    These are items of stores which ordinarily do not wear out or require renewal but are not readily obtainable are kept in stock to meet any emergency due to breakage or unanticipated deterioration of such items. These are generally components of imported machines and rolling stock.

Non-stock Items:    All items other than Stock items are termed as non-stock items.

In order to achieve better inventory control, the stores are classified into the following categories:

A Category

High value items (about 5 per cent of the total number of items) constitute 70 per cent of the total value of all items stocked.

B Category

Medium value items (about 15 per cent of the total number of items) constitute 20 per cent of the total value of all items stocked

C Category

Low value items (about 80 per cent of the total number of items)constitute 10 per cent of the total value of all items stocked

1.2    Highlights

  • For procurement of various items on annual basis, Estimate Sheets (ES) are required to be prepared by depots and sent to Controller of Stores (COS) as per a prescribed time schedule for initiating the procurement process. A test check of 224 ESs revealed that 85 ESs were sent to COS after due date of submission. In Southern Railway, non-adherence to the time schedule was in 100 per cent of cases. In 11 cases, the ESs were not prepared even after half the contract period had expired.
(Para 2.3)
  • The estimated requirement of material in Depots is based on Anticipated Annual Consumption (AAC). Any irregular issues i.e. materials shown as issued but not physically lifted, could lead to computation of incorrect AAC and thus, estimation of excess quantity. In 4,274 cases, material worth Rs.20.67 crore was fictitiously shown as issued but not actually removed from the depots. Based on these inflated issues, the requirement estimated for the next year, thus, also got inflated.
(Para 2.3.2)
  • The procurement in depots is made on annual basis. The total lead time (internal and external lead time combined) for procurement of items should therefore normally be one year. Adopting 6 months each for internal and external lead time as adequate, analysis of a sample of 181 purchase orders for stock items and 182 purchase orders of non-stock items revealed that internal lead time exceeded 6 months in 85 per cent and 84 per cent of the cases in respect of stock and non-stock items respectively. It was more than 1 year in 36 per cent and 43 per cent of the cases in respect of stock and non-stock items respectively.
  • The external lead time exceeded 6 months in 48 per cent and 35 per cent of the cases in respect of stock and non-stock items respectively. It was more than 1 year in 13 per cent and 12 per cent of the cases in respect of stock and non-stock items respectively.
  • The total lead time (internal and external) over one year was in 75 per cent and 70 per cent of the cases in respect of stock and non-stock items respectively.
(Para 2.4.1-2)
  • Emergency purchases necessitated in emergent cases should be made as quickly as possible. An analysis of a sample of 165 purchase orders for stock items and 178 purchase orders for non-stock items disclosed that lead time for over one month was in 36 per cent and 80 per cent of the cases in respect of stock and non-stock items respectively.
  • The maximum internal lead time taken in emergency purchases was 8 months (237 days) on Central Railway in respect of stock items and 16 months (496 days) on Northern Railway in respect of non-stock items.
  • The external lead time over one month was in 32 per cent and 42 per cent of the cases in respect of stock and non-stock items respectively.
  • The total lead time taken over 2 months was in 38 per cent and 77 per cent of the cases in respect of stock and non-stock items respectively.
(Para 2.4.3)
  • A test check of 6,147 purchase orders which were overdue by more than 6 months revealed that the entire ordered quantity was outstanding in 100 per cent of cases on Northern Railway (162 cases) and North Eastern Railway (94 cases), 95.5 per cent in 755 cases on Central Railway, 93.10 per cent in 349 cases on Western Railway.
(Para 2.5)
  • The material received in the Receipt Section should be got inspected promptly. A test check of 819 receipt challans in 33 depots revealed that in 322 cases, the inspection was not completed even after a period of 3 months of receipt. In 47 cases, the inspection was kept pending deliberately to avoid inflation of inventory.
(Para 3.3.1)
  • Audit Review of rejected material cases in 32 depots disclosed that out of 2826 pending rejection cases, 758 cases valued at Rs.2.79 crore were more than 3 years old. In 1231 cases, the entire consignment were rejected by the consignee due to non-conformity of the material to the specification. In 80 cases, advices regarding rejected materials were sent to Accounts Department, but no recovery from suppliers was effected.
(Para 3.4.1)
  • A review of 29 depots disclosed that in respect of 12,598 cases, material worth Rs.43.50 crore was shown as issued but material was not lifted in the same year. This tantamounted to manipulation of Turn Over Ratio (TOR).
(Para 4.2)
  • The efficiency of Inventory Control is judged by Turn Over Ratio (TOR) which is expressed in percentage of value of closing balance at the end of financial year to the value of issues during the year. The Turn Over Ratio was manipulated by delaying accounting of receipts and showing materials as issued without lifting in the same year.
(Paras 5.4 and 5.5)
  • In Railways, the net stores balances (purchases minus issues) on 31 March each year attracts dividend payable to General Revenues at a prefixed percentage. In 9 Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW inventory balances were artificially reduced by a money value of Rs.65.16 crore as on 31 March of 1998-99 to 2000-2001 and consequently less dividend of Rs.4.56 crore was paid to General Revenue.

(Para 5.6)
  • Quantities in excess of 50 per cent of total issues during the preceding year are termed as overstocks. In 30 depots test checked on Zonal Railways, Metro Railway and DLW there were 3984 over stock items valued at Rs.23.66 crore as on 31 March 2001. Of these, 383 items were in excess of the requirement assessed with reference to Anticipated Annual Consumption (AAC).
(Para 5.7)
  • The permissible limit of non moving surplus and over stock items is 2 per cent of the closing balance. On 9 Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW the closing balance as on 31 March 2001 was Rs.667.46 crore. The total value of closing balance of non moving surplus and over stock items was Rs.99.18 crore (14.86 per cent of closing balance) as against a permissible limit of Rs.13.34 crore (2 per cent of closing balance).
(Para 5.8)
  • In an ideal inventory management system, there should be no ‘Out of Stock’ items. A test check by Audit of 373 ‘Out of Stock’ items for more than one year in 32 depots as on 31 March 2001 revealed that out of these, demands were pending since 1996 for 50 items on Central and South Eastern Railways and since 1997 for 44 items on Western Railway.
(Para 5.9)
  • Out of 541 non moving items pending disposal for more than 3 years even prior to 1998-99 in 32 depots test checked, 455 items were still awaiting disposal as on 1 June 2001. The period for which these items had been awaiting disposal was upto 26 years on Northeast Frontier Railway and 17 years on Western Railway.
(Para 6.3)
  • A review of 17 depots revealed that 102 lots of scrap remained undisposed even after a period of more than 2 years of their formation. Out of 102 lots, 43 were more than 5 years old and 25 were more than 6 years old.
(Para 6.6)
  • Age wise analysis of more than one year old cases of debit balances under Purchase Suspense (Indigenous) as on 31 March 2001 revealed that 20,979 items valued at Rs.195.71 crore in respect of which advance payment had been made were outstanding for a period of more than one year. Out of these, 1956 items valued at Rs.15.80 crore pertained to the period prior to 1994-95, 2080 items valued at Rs.12.50 crore pertained to 1994-95 to 1995-96 and the balance 16943 items valued at Rs.173.41 crore pertained to 1996-97 to March 2000.
(Para 7.3)
  • Age wise analysis of more than one year old cases of debit balance under Purchase Suspense (Imported) as on 31 March 2001 revealed that 377 items valued at Rs.22.68 crore in respect of which advance payment had been made were outstanding for a period of more than one year. Out of these, 11 items valued at Rs.0.35 crore pertained to the period prior to 1994-95, 52 items valued at Rs.2.05 crore pertained to the period 1994-95 to 1995-96 and the balance 314 items valued at Rs.20.28 crore pertained to the period 1996-97 to March 2000.
(Para 7.4)
  • As an important check on the correct receipt and issue of stores by wards, it is necessary to have departmental stock verification which should cover selected items of large annual consumption etc. A detailed programme and a list of such selective items should be drawn up. Audit Review of 32 selected depots revealed that no such programme or list was prepared for departmental stock verification on all the Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW.
(Para 8.5)
  • During departmental stock verification, any excess or deficient stock found is adjusted through departmental verification sheets (DVSs). A review of DVS in depots during 1998-99 to 2000-2001 revealed that in 376 cases, DVSs were prepared not on account of discrepancy notices during departmental stock verification but as a result of irregular practice resorted to in issuing material directly form the Receipt Section.
(Para 8.5.2)

1.3    Objectives and Functions

The main objectives and functions of Stores Management include:

  • Standardisation of stock items by unified coding for easy identification of materials, components and parts, efficient assessment of the stock needs and better utilisation of the available stock.

  • Purchase of materials in the most efficient and economical manner, inspection, custody and issue of railway stores to the consuming departments based on the requisitions placed by the indentors.

  • Classification of items based on their value, usage and source.

  • Adopting scientific methods of storage, to minimise losses due to deterioration, obsolescence, breakage, leakage, thefts etc.

  • Proper recording of transactions and periodical review of balances under different suspense heads for keeping up to date stores accounts.

1.4    Organisation

1.4.1    Railway Board

Member (Mechanical) looks after the Stores Management function and has one full time Additional Member (Stores) as head of Railway Stores Directorate to assist him. Framing policies, Inventory Control & centralised purchases are the functions of Railway Board. Railway Stores Directorate is doing field function of purchase through Railway Board only for the specific items i.e. complete units of Rolling Stock and processing of all cases initiated by Zonal Railways when the purchase is beyond competence of General Manager. Railway Stores Directorate has one Directorate at Kolkatta to co-ordinate the supply of steel from main producers to various Railways and production units.

1.4.2    Zonal Railways

Controller of Stores (COS) is responsible for co-ordinating various activities of stores depots and Divisional Controllers of Stores (DCOS) and also purchases. All purchases are centralised in COS office, except for items of petty value purchased locally by DCOS. For discharging these duties, COS is assisted by Chief Material Managers, Deputy Controller of Stores and Senior Stores Officers & Assistant COSs.

1.4.3    Divisional Level

All Divisions are having Senior Divisional Controller of Stores or Divisional Controller of Stores who has to co-ordinate with COS to meet the material requirements of the Division. He has been delegated some purchase powers also to locally purchase items required for his Division.

1.4.4    Depot Level

There are thousands of indentors spread over a large geographical area. The Railways, therefore, have to plan locations of the various stores depots with care. Normally stores Depots are attached to the major workshops and are known as attached depots. In addition, Stores depots for materials of general nature which are required by most of the indentors are situated at one or two convenient locations from where the supplies can be effected. These are called as General Stores Depots.

Stores Depots are generally under the supervision of gazetted officers of the Stores Department referred to as Depot Officers. The Depot Officer is responsible to the COS for the efficient maintenance of stock of stores and for the prompt service to the indentors in his territory. Asst. Depot Officers and other senior staff such as Depot Store Keepers (DSK) assist the Depot Officer in his work.

1.5    Scope and Audit Objectives

The review focuses on important spheres of Stores Management - assessment of requirement, procurement of stores, storage & distribution arrangements, initiatives taken to minimise inventory and effectiveness of the mechanism to allocate and utilise funds, establish and monitor inventory standards.

The following areas have not been covered under the present Audit Review:-

  1. Permanent way Depots

  2. Printing & Stationery Press

  3. Fuel Stores

  4. Utilisation of Depot held machinery

1.6    Sample size

There were 217 stores depots in operation on Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW as on 31 March 2001. These 217 depots consisted of 323 wards. For a detailed review, 40 depots and 106 wards were selected. In addition, 12 divisions were also selected to review performance of the system of Divisionalisation of stores (Annexure XVI).

1.7    Methodology

At the Zonal Railways Headquarters level, records maintained in Controller of Stores (COS) office were audited to review the adequacy of managerial and administrative controls. Audit selected 4 depots each on 8 Zonal Railways (except Northeast Frontier Railway), 3 each on Northeast Frontier Railway and CLW and one each on DLW and Metro Railway. While selecting 4 / 3 Depots, one General, one Scrap and 2/ 1 Workshop attached depots were included. Specific areas viz. Receipt, Inspection, Emergency Purchase, Issue, Scrap disposal activities and user satisfaction were focused while conducting Audit Review.

(Annexure XVII)

Section II

2.1    Budget and Procurement

2.1.1    General

On 9 Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW, expenditure on procurement of stores during 2000-2001 was Rs.2964.51 crore (Annexure XVIII).

The function of provisioning involves forecasting the anticipated future requirements of the Railways and initiation of timely procurement action.

The objectives of Purchase Department are to,

  1. obtain right quantity

  2. obtain right quality

  3. obtain right price and value for money

  4. obtain right delivery time

  5. select right source of supply.

Purchases are also to be made in the most efficient, economical and expeditious manner.

2.2    Budget Allotment and Expenditure

The Final Grant & Actual Expenditure on procurement of stores (other than fuel) during 1996-97 to 2000-2001 in Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW was as indicated in Annexure XIX.

The overall year wise position on Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW of Final Grant, Actual Expenditure and Variation during the period of review was as under:

(Rupees in crore)

Year

Final Grant

Actual Expenditure

Variation

Percentage of variation

1

2

3

4

5

1996-97

2389.22

2403.98

14.76

0.62

1997-98

2637.80

2630.02

-7.78

-0.29

1998-99

3059.34

3004.58

-54.76

-1.79

1999-2000

3026.44

2974.87

-51.57

-1.70

2000-2001

3105.53

2964.51

-141.02

-4.54

A review of micro position as indicated in Annexure XIX revealed that:

(a)(i)    Provision of Funds in Final Grant exceeded Actual Expenditure in all the 5 years of review in Central, Northeast Frontier, Southern Railways and CLW. In Northern Railway, final grant exceeded actual expenditure in 4 years during 1997-98 to 2000-01

(ii)    Excess of Final Grant over Actual Expenditure was more than 10 per cent in Northern Railway (1999-2000 and 2000-2001), Northeast Frontier Railway (1996-97 to 1998-99 and 2000-2001) and Metro Railway (1998-99 and 2000-2001).

(b)(i)    Actual Expenditure exceeded Final Grant in South Eastern Railway during 1996-97 to 2000-2001, North Eastern Railway during 1997-98 to 2000-2001, Eastern Railway during 1996-97 to 1997-98 and 1999-2000 to 2000-2001, South Central Railway during 1996-97 to 1998-99, Western Railway during 1996-97 to 1997-98 and 1999-2000, and DLW during 1996-97 to 1999-2000.

(ii)    Actual Expenditure exceeded Final Grant by more than 10 per cent in North Eastern Railway (1999-2000) and Metro Railway (1997-98 - 24.44 per cent and 1999-2000 - 22.68 per cent).

This indicates defective budgeting by the concerned Railways.

2.3    Estimation of Requirement

The Railways follow a system of preparing estimates for procurement of various items on an annual basis. For the purpose of estimating the quantity required, Anticipated Annual Consumption (AAC) is calculated based on the consumption pattern of the previous 3 years. Each depot prepares Estimate Sheets(ES) and sends it to the COS for initiating the procurement process. Different dates are fixed for submission of the ESs for different items so that the purchases are conveniently divided over the whole year. The position of an item is reviewed at a fixed date as per the time table prepared and the requirements are then sent to the purchase office sufficiently in advance. The ES in respect of A and B category items have to be vetted by the Associated Finance and of C category items need not be vetted by Associated Finance.

2.3.1    A test check by Audit of 224 ESs on 9 Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW revealed that:

  1. In 85 cases (37.95 per cent), estimate sheets were sent by depots to Controllers of Stores after due date of submission. In Southern Railway, in all the 15 cases (100 per cent) ESs were sent to Controller of Stores after due date of submission.

  2. In 11 cases, purchase orders were not placed even after half the contract period had expired and the balance quantity had come below the critical level.

  3. In 11 cases, purchase orders placed were in excess of estimated quantity resulting in blocking of the capital un-necessarily.

(Annexure XX)

2.3.2    Effect of Irregular issues on AAC

Since the estimation is largely based on AAC, irregular issues could lead to excess procurement. The following illustrations highlight the danger of manipulating the issue figures.

In 4274 cases, material worth Rs.20.67 crore was fictitiously dealt with to manipulate and keep the inventory low as indicated below:

  1. In 705 cases, material worth Rs.8.41 crore was shown as issued in 17 depots during each of the financial years but issues were reversed in the next financial year.

  2. In 2848 cases, material worth Rs.7.60 crore was shown as issued in 13 depots during financial years but material actually lifted in the next financial years.

  3. In 721 cases, material worth Rs.4.67 crore was shown as issued in 15 depots but not lifted as on 1 June 2001.

(Annexure XXI)

2.4    Procurement Lead Time

2.4.1    The interval between identification of requirement and receipt of material is termed as procurement lead-time. As already mentioned in Para 2.3 (Estimation of requirement), the procurement in depot is done on annual basis. The total lead time should, therefore, normally be one year. The length and variance in procurement lead time directly influence inventory and demand forecast. During this procurement lead time, various activities like invitation, finalisation of procurement tenders and thereafter issue of supply orders take place. These activities can be divided into two phases. Phase 1 which involves activities from identification of requirement to issue of supply orders may be termed as “internal lead time” and phase 2 which involves activities from issue of supply orders to receipt of material may be termed as “external lead time”.

Taking lead time of 6 months each and 1 year combined as adequate, Audit analysed the time elapsed between identification of requirement and materialisation of supplies for various types of purchases as discussed in the following paragraphs.

2.4.2    For procurement by COS

COS makes purchase of stores through the process of tendering. Results of analysis of a sample of 181 purchase orders for stock items and 182 purchase orders for non-stock items revealed that:

  • Internal Lead Time was more than 6 months in 85 per cent of cases (153 out of 181) in respect of stock items and 84 per cent of cases (153 out of 182) in respect of non-stock items. In 36 per cent of cases (66 out of 181) in respect of stock items and 43 per cent of cases (79 out of 182) of non-stock items, the internal lead time was more than 1 year.

  • The External Lead Time was more than 6 months in 48 per cent of cases (86 out of 181) in respect of stock items and 35 per cent of cases (63 out of 182) in respect of non-stock items. The external lead time was more than 1 year in 13 per cent and 12 per cent of the cases in respect of stock and non-stock items respectively.

  • The total lead time was more than 1 year in 75 per cent of cases (136 out of 181) in respect of stock items and in 70 per cent of cases (127 out of 182) in respect of non-stock items.

  • The total lead time of more than 2 years was in 18 percent of cases in respect of stock items and 23 per cent of cases in respect of non-stock items.

(Annexure XXII)

One of the factors for a substantial internal lead time was the issue of corrigenda subsequent to notification of tender notices in News Papers. It was noticed by Audit that in 6 Zonal Railways (except North Eastern and Northeast Frontier and Southern Railways) 1045 corrigenda were issued during 1995-96 to 2000-2001 involving an avoidable expenditure of Rs.0.74 crore. The reasons attributed to issue of corrigenda were - frequent changes of date of opening, change of quantity, correction in description of materials, change of specification, incorporation of new clauses after publication of tender notices etc.

(Annexure XXIII)

2.4.3    Emergency Purchase

Emergency purchase arises only when suppliers fail to deliver against outstanding orders and the stock of the item, which is urgently required, is precariously low. The Railway may purchase such items to meet their emergent requirements. Depot officer has funds in the form of imprest for such type of purchases within his financial power. Considering emergent nature of purchases, the entire process of calling of quotation/tenders, finalising the same and issuing supply orders should be completed in the minimum possible time.

Taking lead time of 1 month each for internal and external process and 2 months combined as adequate, Audit conducted a test check of 165 purchase orders in respect of stock items and 178 purchase orders in respect of non-stock items to assess the extent of internal, external and total lead time taken in the emergency purchases and observed that

  • Internal Lead Time was more than 1 month in 36 per cent of cases (60 out of 165) in respect of stock items and in 80 per cent of cases (143 out of 178) in respect of non-stock items.

  • The maximum internal lead time taken was 237 days in respect of emergency purchase of stock items on Central Railway and 496 days in respect of emergency purchase of non-stock items on Northern Railway.

  • External Lead Time was more than 1 month in 32 per cent of cases (53 out of 165) in respect of stock items and in 42 per cent of cases (75 out of 178 ) in respect of non-stock items.

  • The maximum external lead time taken was 360 days in respect of emergency purchase of stock items on Central Railway and 359 days in respect of emergency purchase in respect of non-stock items on South Central Railway.

  • The total lead time of more than 2 months was in 38 per cent (63 out of 165) of the cases in respect of stock items and 77 per cent (137 out of 178) of the cases in respect of non-stock items.

The total lead-time taken for various purchases directly reflects on the efficiency of an inventory system. From total lead-time taken in effecting Emergency purchases in the above cases, it appears that due importance was not given to the emergency procurement as the total lead-time was upto 401 days in respect of stock items on Central Railway and 673 days in respect of non-stock items on Northeast Frontier Railway (Annexure XXIV).

2.4.4    Time taken for post receipt activity in Emergency Stock Item Purchase

A further test check of 141 out of 165 cases of emergency purchase against Emergency Recoupment Memo (ERM) of stock items revealed that:

  1. In 129 cases, time taken before acceptance of the material by the depots ranged between 1 and 111 days (Central Railway).

  2. In 122 cases, time taken for recording receipt of the material in the ward from the date of acceptance of the material ranged between 1 and 429 days (Eastern Railway).

  3. In 105 cases, time taken for issue of the material after its receipt in the ward ranged between 1 and 350 days (North Eastern Railway).

(Annexures XXIV and XXV)

Given the fact that all these procurement had been made against Emergency Recoupment Memo and the receipt, accounting and issue of material took such long a time, the very purpose of making emergency purchase stands defeated.

2.5    Purchase orders overdue by more than six months

Purchase orders where materials ordered have not been received within the delivery period are termed as ‘overdue’. In 8 Zonal Railways (except Eastern Railway), list of Purchase Orders overdue by more than six months in the month of March 2001 was reviewed in 31 depots. It was noticed that in respect of 6147 purchase orders over due by more than six months, the ordered quantity outstanding was 100 percent in Northern and North Eastern Railways, 95.50 per cent in Central Railway and 93.10 per cent in Western Railway. In other four zonal Railways, the outstanding ordered quantity ranged from 57.93 to 77 percent.

In Eastern Railway and DLW the information was not available.

Detailed study of 794 Purchase Orders out of 6147 Purchase Orders outstanding over six months revealed that:

  1. In 113 cases, Railway Administration did not take any action for getting the matter expedited.

  2. In 20 cases, concerned Depot officer had written to COS for cancellation of Purchase Order, but no response from COS was received.

  3. In 36 cases, concerned Depot had issued reminders to COS for getting the supply from the supplier but no response from COS was received.

  4. In 5 case, even though material was received in 1998, the same PO figured in the list of outstanding POs for more than six months as of March 2001.

(Annexure XXVI)

2.6    Receipt of material without Purchase Order

Review of local purchase items revealed the following irregularities:

  1. Receipt of materials without any order therefor.

  2. Receipt of materials in advance of issue of Purchase Orders.

On Central and Northeast Frontier Railways, in 41 cases of stock items (Central - 35, Northeast Frontier - 6) material were received without any purchase order placed therefor. In Central Railway, in 17 cases of non-stock items, the materials were received without issue of any Purchase Orders.

In Central, Northeast Frontier Railway and CLW, it was noticed in 214 cases (Central Railway - 46, Northeast Frontier Railway - 164 and CLW - 4) in respect of both Stock and Non-Stock Items, materials were received first and Purchase Orders therefor issued later.

From the above cases, it is evident that the procedure prescribed to ensure that the best quality of material is procured at the most competitive prices was not followed.

2.7    Comparison of purchases by COS and Emergency Purchases

Review by Audit of emergency purchase of 307 stock items by depots officers on Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW revealed as under:

  • In 133 cases in Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW, though materials were procured locally within six months of the dates of purchases by COS, there were wide variations in rates. The extra cost paid in respect of 133 cases of emergency purchase amounted to Rs.0.53 crore.

  • In 10 cases (6 cases on Central Railway and 4 cases on Western Railway), there was frequent procurement of material.

  • In 5 cases (4 on Central Railway and 1 on Western Railway), splitting of purchase orders was done in order to avoid sanction of higher authority.

(Annexure XXVII)

2.8    Shipping consignments

Majority of the Railway imported stores land at three important ports in India viz., Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. The clearance work at Mumbai port is looked after by the Central Railway, at Kolkata by Eastern Railway and Chennai by Southern Railway. All works connected with clearance of material from the port, including obtaining the Marine Insurance Policy, till they are dispatched to the appropriate consignees are attended to by these Railways, on behalf of all Zonal Railways and Production Units.

The results of analysis of a sample of 18 out of 50 high value Railway Board's contracts/purchase orders in respect of Central Railway (13 out of 37), Eastern Railway (3 out of 8) and Southern Railway (2 out of 5) which had been placed for imported goods during 1996-97 to 1998-99 and completion reports thereof were drawn by COS revealed that an extra expenditure of Rs.1.01 crore in 15 cases was incurred as detailed below:

  1. In one case pertaining to the period 1999-2000, Central Railway Administration incurred an additional cost of Rs.0.16 crore against freight and customs duty due to failure of Railway Administration to arrange for timely provision of a vessel by Shipping Corporation of India.

  2. Clause 10(b) of the Standard Contract Agreement provides that in case of extension of delivery period, the Railways reserve the right to recovery of any extra expenditure which may be incurred by Railways on account of increase in custom duty and freight charges etc. due to variation in foreign exchange rate or any other extra expenditure directly resulting from the delay in shipment beyond original delivery period.

In 14 cases (12 on Central Railway and 2 Eastern Railway), additional cost of Rs.0.71 crore (Rs.0.70 crore on Central Railway and Rs.0.01 crore on Eastern Railway) was incurred by Railway Administrations on account of freight and custom duty due to late delivery of material by the suppliers. This extra cost which was recoverable from the suppliers, as per the aforesaid clause of the agreement, was not recovered.

Section III

3    Receipt and Inspection Management

3.1    General

All the stores ordered by the zonal railways or Ministry of Railways with advance payment clause and purchase orders having the condition of quality control are inspected by outside inspecting agency before dispatch. Inspection charges are borne by the consignee. Inspecting agencies are as mentioned below:

(a)    Indigenous materials:

  1. By Directorate of Quality Assurance (DQA) of materials purchased through DGS&D

  2. By RITES and RDSO of materials purchased by Railway Board or Zonal Railways

(b)    By Railway Liaison Officers or Indian Supply Missions, Washington/ London/ Tokyo in respect of Imported Stores.

Each depot has a Receipt Section (RS), which deals with all documents relating to the receipts into the depot. This section is independent of the Ward and other Section of the Depot. After clearance of materials, the clearing section hands over the materials to custodian of receipt and inspection section. The duty of RS is to receive the materials with proper documents. Inspection of materials and quality assurance are very important aspects, therefore, each RS is having an Inspection wing to carry out periodical inspections of the material received from various suppliers.

3.2    Functions of the Inspection wing

The Inspection wing is responsible for the expeditious inspection of all incoming materials when received or at the manufacturer's works. All correspondence relating to disputes of inspection of materials is done by the inspection wing until final acceptance or rejection.

A consignment, after receipt, is inspected by the consignee with reference, inter alia, to specification. Consignments which do not conform to specifications are rejected. When the materials are rejected by the Depot officer, the material is sent to Rejection Section along with the file. This section immediately sends an advice in the prescribed form to the supplier, purchaser and concerned Accounts Officer, indicating the details of reasons for rejection and advising the firm to remove the rejected materials within 14/21 days from the date of receipt of letter (14 days in the case of DGS&D supplies). If the rejected stores are not removed within 21 days from the date of rejection, co-ordinating HOD or Dy. HOD has full powers to dispose of the rejected material at the risk and cost of the contractor.

Whenever a consignee finds that the material inspected by Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES)/ Research, Design and Standards Organisations (RDSO)/ Directorate of Quality Assurance (DQA), does not meet the requirement of the contract purchase order, Rejection Advice is also sent to the inspecting authority. Thereafter, joint inspection is carried out within 30 days of the receipt of the rejection advice by the representative of inspecting authority, supplier and consignee. The findings of the joint inspection are advised by the inspecting authority to all other representatives.

3.3    Delay in Inspection and disposal of Rejected Materials

Material is received in the Receipt Section of the Depot alongwith challans prepared by the supplier. Efficiency of receipt section is judged on the basis of prompt disposal of challans by transferring the received material to the ward for making available to the consumer after proper inspection and preparation of Receipt Order (RO).

3.3.1    Analysis of Challans

The efficiency in inspecting and accepting the material was reviewed in audit by carrying out the detailed analysis of 819 challans of 33 depots selected for review in respect of consignments lying in receipt section for more than 3 months. Analysis revealed that:

  • In 322 cases, the inspections were not completed even after a period of 3 months of receipt. The incidence of such cases was very high on DLW - 100 per cent (55 out of 55), South Central Railway - 87.18 per cent (34 out of 39), Western Railway - 49.57 per cent (58 out of 117) and CLW - 37.65 per cent (64 out of 170).

  • In 47 cases, the inspection was kept pending deliberately to avoid inflation of inventory. Out of this, 39 cases (83 per cent) were on Western Railway alone.

  • In 34 cases, the reasons for rejection of material were not recorded. The number of such cases was high on CLW (18 out of 170) and Central Railway (11 out of 218).

  • In 295 cases, the material was received either against extended delivery dates or modified purchase orders. Copies of such documents were awaited from COS for which depots were in correspondence with COS.

  • In 18 cases, clearance from vigilance/ police was awaited.

  • In 103 cases, inspection was not completed due to various other reasons.

On North Eastern Railway, the reasons for Challans being outstanding for over a period of 3 months were not on record (Annexure XXVIII).

3.3.2    March Phenomenon

A review of year-wise position of challans received from suppliers and disposed of during 1998-99 to 2000-2001 revealed that clearance of Challans in the month of March each year was generally less as compared to the monthly average of Challans on Central Railway (except Curry Road Depot), Northern Railway, South Central Railway (Stores Depot - Lallguda and Mettuguda), South Eastern Railway, Western Railway and CLW. This could be a deliberate practice to keep inventory at a low level on 31 March every year (Annexure XXIX).

3.3.3    The receipt challans received alongwith material in Receipt Section should be processed promptly. A summary of actual transactions in depots for the month of March 2001 taken from the daily register is as under:

Railways

No. of Depots

Challans received
During March 2001

Processed in 
April & May 2001

Cases Pending 
(as on 1st June 2001)

1

2

3

4

5

Central

3

380

255

68

Eastern

3

709

139

30

Northern

4

404

65

118

North Eastern

3

234

126

9

Northeast Frontier

3

218

101

3

Southern

4

593

158

13

South Central

3

564

257

1

South Eastern

3

253

214

26

Western

3

270

109

10

Metro

1

14

6

1

CLW

3

557

58

78

DLW

1

582

55

248

TOTAL

34

4778

1543

605

From the above table it would be seen that out of 4778 challans received in March 2001, 605 challans were pending as on 1 June 2001 even after a period of over 2 months had elapsed.

It was further noticed in audit that figures furnished in PCDOs for the months were also at variance with the month wise figures shown in the Daily Register maintained in the Receipt Section.

3.4    Rejection cases

3.4.1    Position of Rejected Material

During inspection by the consignee substantial number of consignments were rejected. Some of the consignments rejected involved advance payments.

Audit Review of Rejected Material cases of 32 depots on Zonal Railways, Metro, CLW and DLW revealed that:

  1. Out of 2826 pending rejection cases valued at Rs.12.33 crore, 758 cases valuing Rs.2.79 crore pertained to period more than 3 years old. This indicates lack of efforts to settle pending cases.

  2. In 1231 cases, the entire consignments were rejected by the consignees as the supplies did not conform to the required specification. This indicates poor quality of inspection by the nominated inspecting agencies.

  3. Out of 2826 rejected cases of 32 depots pending as on 31 March 2001, 138 cases each of Rs.1 lakh and above were reviewed. It was noticed that:

  • In 11 cases, the material was found damaged during installation.

  • In 45 cases, the material was found not conforming to the prescribed specification/ contents/ tests.

  • In 94 cases, the material was rejected due to reasons like different colour/ size, cancellation of Purchase Orders, excess quantity, late receipt of materials etc.

  • In 80 cases, advices were sent to accounts but no recovery was effected.

(Annexure XXX)

3.4.2    A high incidence of rejection cases as a result of poor quality of inspection further leads to wastage of resource and time of Railway Administration in chasing suppliers for replacing the rejected material, besides serious repercussions in the form of:

  1. Non-availability of quality material to the consignees.

  2. Payment towards the inspection charges to the agencies for improper inspections.

  3. Funds to the extent of rejected material are blocked till they are recovered.

  4. Avoidable increase in paper work and loss of productive man-hours.

  5. Avoidable increase in claims/arbitration cases and possible loss of money.

  6. Avoidable occupancy of precious space in the depot.

3.5    Settlement of Claims

Bulk of the Railway Stores are transported by rail. In case of shortages/ damages and also whenever the consignments are not received within a reasonable period of time, claim should be lodged with the Commercial Department for shortage/ Non-receipt of the consignments. As per Railway Board's instructions of April 1983, such claims should be preferred by the consignees well in time and settled promptly by chief claims officer. Meetings should be held at various levels with the claimants to expedite settlement. In no case should a claim remain outstanding for over 18 months from the date it was preferred.

3.5.1    A review by Audit of claim cases settled during 1998-99 to 2000-01 in 33 depots, revealed that out of 2974 cases pending as on 31 March 2001 in 9 Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW, 2093 claim cases valuing Rs.10.19 crore were pending for a period of more than 18 months.

Of these 2093 cases, 831 cases and 497 cases pertained to Eastern and Northeast Frontier Railways respectively.(Annexure XXXI).

Section IV

4.    Issues

4.1    General

All issues are effected through Stores Depots/ Workshop attached depots. The materials required by Workshop/ Consuming Units are drawn by means of advance lists, prepared based on forecast schedules from depots attached to workshops and by means of written requisitions, in prescribed form, from depots not attached to workshops. The material in the former case is issued through issue tickets and in the latter case by issue notes.

4.2    Fictitious Issues

4.2.1    Review of Issues made by 74 wards of 29 depots during the period 1998-99 to 2000-2001 revealed the following:

4.2.1.1    General Depots

  1. In 17 depots/ wards on Zonal Railways, the transactions for the said period indicated issue of material worth Rs.8.41 crore for 705 cases through issue notes though there were no requisition for the same. In all these cases, there was no physical movement of materials from ward to consuming units, as no gate pass was prepared. Further all these issues were reversed by passing minus issue entries during the next financial year.

  2. In 12 depots on 8 Zonal Railways (except North Eastern Railway) and DLW, in 2848 cases, issues worth Rs.7.60 crore made in the months of January, February. & March through issue notes were lifted in the months of May, June & July of the next financial year i.e. after a lapse of 2 to 4 months. In Central Railway, in Curry Road Depot, it was done in 1757 cases involving value of Rs.2.09 crore while on Eastern Railway it was done in 223 cases involving Rs.3.19 crore.

  3. In 11 depots on 9 Zonal Railways and DLW, issues worth Rs.4.67 crore were made in 721 cases on issue notes but material was not lifted by the consuming units and was lying in the ward as on 31 March 2001.

  4. Against 7925 demands made since 1998-99 finished garments worth Rs.2.30 crore were issued by 6 depots but not lifted till June 2001 by the consignees of all the 28 Divisions.

(Annexure XXXII)

4.2.1.2    Workshop attached Depots

  1. In 18 workshop attached depots, 301 instances of recording transactions as issued without actual movement of material worth Rs.17.17 crore were noticed. In all such cases the material was kept in the wards on the plea that there was no space to keep those material in the concerned shops. Out of 301 cases materials shown as issued in 231 cases, valued Rs.10.74 crore were lying in wards even on 1 June 2001.

  2. In 98 cases, issues worth Rs.3.35 crore made in the months of January, February & March through issue notes were lifted in the months of May & June of the next financial year i.e. after a lapse of 2 to 3 months.

(Annexure XXXIII)

4.3    Irregular issues of material direct by Receipt section

4.3.1    All the requests for issue of material are handled by the concerned wards through issue notes or issue tickets and proper accounting of materials so issued is kept. However, in 11 depots, cases of issue of material directly by the receipt section showing it as unconnected receipts and accounting for the same through Departmental Verification Sheets were noticed. A total of 376 unconnected receipt items valued Rs.6.45 crore were accounted for in this manner. This irregular practice is resorted to keep the inventory low.

(Annexure XXXIV)

4.3.2    Cases were noticed of issues of material by Receipt Section to consignees on challans also. Stores Requisition Form No. GI-5 was being used as a Challan.

  1. Challan or Stores Requisition Form is not an authorised document for issue of stores as per stores code and it is also not a pre-printed numbered stationery. Generally acknowledged copy of challan is not received from consignee to issuing depot as a proof of receipt of material. This results in failure in reconciliation of issues with actual receipt of material by the consignee. Thus the possibility of fraudulent use of challans for issue of material without accounting for the same in the books of accounts cannot be ruled out.

  2. In 32 depots there were 421 & 475 instances of issues through challans in March 1999 & March 2001 compared to average of 343 & 341 per month for the year 1998-1999 & 2000-01 respectively. This irregular practice was being followed throughout the year with a marked increase in the month of March indicating manipulation to show low inventory level.

  3. A test check of 475 challans of March 2001 with reference to Daily Receipt Register of March 2001 further revealed that in 182 cases, date of acceptance of material was later than the date of issue of material.

(Annexure XXXV)

Section V

5.    Valuation of Inventory

5.1    General

Inventory on Zonal Railways comprises Stores Suspense which indicates cost of physical stocks of stores held at depots (as Stores Balance), Work-in-Progress in various workshop and production units (as Workshop Manufacturing Suspense) and Miscellaneous Advances including the value of stores advanced to contractors for fabrication etc. (as Miscellaneous Advances).

The Railways have to pay dividend as determined by the Parliament every year on the inventory holding of Railways at the end of the financial year. Hence, there is a need for proper Inventory Control.

The primary objective of effective stores management is, therefore, to keep down the investment towards the Inventory, inventory carrying cost and obsolescence that may occur due to introduction of sophisticated modern equipments.

5.2    Inventory Control

For the purpose of effective inventory control, stores are maintained in ABC system (vide para 1.1.3 ante). 'A' value items are closely monitored at the highest level at frequent intervals. Their stock levels, consumption forecast etc., are monitored at the level of COS/CMM every month. 'B' value items are monitored at the level of CMM/Dy. COS every quarter or every six months. To achieve better turnover ratio, average stock of 3 months, 6 months & 12 months of 'A', 'B' & 'C' value items respectively are kept in the Stores Depots.

There is an inventory control cell consisting of Stores & Accounts officers to effect a systematic inventory control. This cell also attends to the clearance of suspense accounts and takes prompt action to liquidate the accumulation of scrap. Stores budget is also compiled by this section.

5.3    Evaluation of Performance in Inventory Control

The overall position of inventories on Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW for the period 1996-97 to 2000-2001 is tabulated below:

(Rs. in crore)

Year

1996-97

1997-98

1998-99

1999-00

2000-01

Stores Balance

369.781

356.092

427.092

429.281

527.250

Workshop Manufacturing suspense

277.180

267.560

461.200

449.050

493.750

Miscellaneous Advances

66.360

42.960

54.910

54.300

38.300

Total Stores suspense Balance

713.321

666.612

943.202

932.631

1059.300

Value of Purchase

2620.780

2891.010

3295.670

3277.800

3392.670

Value of Issue

3527.050

3957.590

4267.000

4291.720

4430.990

The Railway wise and production unit wise position is given in Annexure XXXVI. From this annexure, it would be seen that on CLW, there was consistent increase in total stores suspense balance in all the five years under review. In Northeast Frontier and South Central Railways, there was consistent increase during 1997-98 to 1999-2000 and 1998-99 to 2000-2001 respectively.

5.4    Turnover Ratio (TOR)

5.4.1    This is an important parameter to measure the efficiency of Inventory Management in Railways. Turnover ratio is the percentage ratio of physical closing balances to the issues of the material during the year. Targets for TOR are fixed by Railway Board. The TOR actually achieved against target fixed are reported to Railway Board through Periodical Confidential Demi Official (PCDO). The targets fixed and achieved for TOR as per PCDO are given in Annexure XXXVII.

It would be seen therefrom that the actual TOR achieved was higher than the targets in Central Railway during 1997-98 to 2000-01, North Eastern Railway during all the 5 years and Northeast Frontier Railway during 1997-98 to 2000-2001.

5.4.2    Pattern of Receipts and issues

Year-wise inventory position on Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW and month-wise pattern of receipts, issues & balances of selected 32 Depots were studied for the years 1998-99 to 2000-2001. The studies revealed that issues in the month of March were much higher as compared to the monthly average of issues on 8 Zonal Railways (except Southern Railway) and DLW.

In CLW and Metro Railway, this information was not available.

(Annexure XXXVIII)

5.5    Irregular Transactions to exhibit low inventory value

5.5.1    Delay in accounting of material at Depots

Out of 4600 cases of materials received during March 2001 in 32 depots on Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW, 2321 cases were kept pending either for inspection or even after inspection in receipt section. This resulted in non-accounting of receipts in the year (2000-2001) to which they pertained. There was therefore under valuation of ground balance of inventory worth Rs.102.54 crore (in respect of 1389 cases where value was known).

(Annexure XXXIX)

5.5.2.    Items shown as issued in the last quarter of the year but entries reversed in subsequent years

As already brought out in preceding paras 2.3.2 and 4.2.1.1 (Item No.i), in respect of irregular issues worth Rs.8.41 crore in 705 cases where material shown as issued was retained in depots and reverse entries of issues (minus issues) were carried out in subsequent year. Thus, inventory balances were undervalued to this extent in respective years.

5.5.3.    Stores shown as issued but not lifted by the consignees or lifted partly in the next year

5.5.3.1.    As already mentioned in preceding paras No.2.3.2 [Item No. (ii) and (iii)] and 4.2.1.1 and 2, materials worth Rs.35.09 crore in respect of 11893 cases was shown as issued but these were either not lifted in the same year or lifted partly in subsequent years. Out of total material of Rs.35.09 crore in respect of 11893 cases shown as issued, material worth Rs.17.38 crore in respect of 3016 cases was lifted during April to July in the subsequent year.

5.6    Dividend payable to General Revenue

Railway Administration has to pay dividend at a fixed percentage to General Revenue on the Capital invested. In respect of Stores, the net balance (Total Purchases - Total Issues) attracts dividend as on 31 March of every year. From the foregoing paras, it can be seen that by fictitious book adjustments, the inventory balance at the end of financial year was artificially reduced by Rs.65.16 crore during 1998-99 to 2000-2001 and less dividend to the tune of Rs.4.56 crore during 1998-99 to 2000-2001 was paid to General Revenue in respect of transactions covered in sample size. As the Dividend to General Revenue was paid from the Revenue Earnings, less payment affected the Profit and Loss Account and Balance Sheet resulting in mis-statement of the financial status of the Railways (Anneuxre XL).

5.7    Over stocks

5.7.1    Overstocks are generally the quantities in excess of 50 per cent of the total last year’s issues of a particular item. The formula adopted for computation of overstock on Zonal Railway was as under:

  • For ‘A’ and ‘B’ category - Stock of over 12 months’ requirements

  • For ‘C’ category - Stock of over 24 months’ requirements

The Railway wise and production units wise position of over stock items during 1996-97 to 2000-2001, revealed that:

  1. On Northern Railway, the number of over stock items increased from 304 in 1996-97 to 8324 in 2000-2001 (increased by 26 times),

  2. On Northeast Frontier Railway, the number of non-moving items increased from 946 in 1996-97 to 1397 in 2000-2001 (increased by 48 per cent),

  3. In South Central Railway, the number of over stock items increased from 245 in 1996-97 to 895 in 2000-2001 (increased by 265 per cent).

(Annexure XLI)

5.7.2    There were 3984 overstock items valued at Rs.23.66 crore as on 31 March 2001 in 30 depots on 9 Zonal Railways, Metro Railway and DLW. A review of these cases with reference to Anticipated Annual Consumption (AAC), receipts and issues for the period from 1998-99 to 2000-01 revealed that:

  1. In 383 cases, procurement was more than required with reference to AAC which resulted into overstock of items. Out of this number, 188 cases were on Northern Railway alone.

  2. In 40 cases (Central - 10, Northern - 20, Southern - 5 and South Central - 5) less consumption of material resulted in over stock valued at Rs.0.27 crore (Central - Rs.0.01 crore, Northern - Rs.0.21 crore, Southern - Rs.0.01 crore and South Central - Rs.0.04 crore).

(Annexure XLII)

In DLW, in 5 cases, though the demand for contract period 2000-2001 was nil, COS office placed purchase orders and procured material worth Rs.0.12 crore involving 14744 stock items.

5.8    Surplus Stock

5.8.1    Such items, as have not been issued from stock for Railway consumption for a period of 2 years, are declared as surplus stock. Such surplus stocks except emergency stores are further classified as movable surplus and Dead/Non-movable surplus.

Movable Surplus comprises items of stores, which have not been drawn for a period of 24 months but which, it is anticipated, will be utilised in the near future.

Dead Surplus comprises items of stores, which have not been issued for the past 24 months and are not likely to be utilised on any railway within the next 2 years.

  1. During 1996-97 to 2000-2001, on Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW the Non-moving items ranged between 203 (Southern Railway in 1998-99) and 3626 (Central Railway in 1998-99) with corresponding values of Rs.0.44 crore and Rs.2.45 crore respectively. On an average there were 12802 non-moving items every year with an average value as Rs.17.07 crore.

  2. During 1996-97 to 2000-2001, on Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW, the surplus items ranged between 4 (South Eastern Railway) and 834 (Northern Railway in 2000-2001) with corresponding values as Rs.0.002 crore & Rs.1.75 crore respectively. On an average there were 1551 surplus items every year with an average value as Rs.1.02 crore (Annexure XLI).

  3. Permissible limit for total Non-Moving surplus & overstock is 2 per cent of the closing balance. On 9 Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW, the closing balance as on 31 March 2001 was Rs.667.46 crore (excluding Metro Railway). The total value of closing balance of non-moving and over stock items was Rs.99.18 crore as against a permissible limit of Rs.13.34 crore. The percentage of actual non-moving and over stock items as on 31 March 2001 was 14.86 against the permissible percentage of 2 as tabulated below:

(Rs. in crore)

Sl. No.

Railways

Closing Balance as on 31 March 2001

Total of Non-moving and Over Stock items

Permissible limit of N/M + O/S (2 per cent of Col.3)

Excess stock of N/M and O/S

1

2

3

4

5

6

1

Central

66.16

5.47

1.32

4.15

2

Eastern

43.94

13.78

0.88

12.90

3

Northern

103.37

45.27

2.07

43.20

4

North Eastern

26.14

1.97

0.52

1.45

5

Northeast Frontier

18.21

1.64

0.36

1.28

6

Southern

47.57

5.81

0.95

4.86

7

South Central

44.46

5.17

0.89

4.28

8

South Eastern

42.30

1.53

0.85

0.68

9

Western

88.38

11.26

1.77

9.49

10

CLW

99.20

1.31

1.98

-0.67

11

DLW

87.73

5.97

1.75

4.22

12

Metro

1.45

NA

NA

NA

TOTAL

667.46 
(excluding Metro Railway)

99.18
(14.86 per cent of Col.1)

13.34 
(@ 2 per cent of Col.1)

85.84

Source: Inventory Control Section of COS Office

5.8.2    Surplus and Non-moving Items

The position of Surplus & non-moving items as on 31 March 2001 for selected 32 depots of Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW was as under:

Description

For depots

No. of Items

Value (Rs. in Crore)

Non-Moving over 1 Year

2473

5.93

Non-Moving over 2 Years

1825

2.43

Surplus Items

913

1.00

(Source: List of Emergency, surplus & Non-moving items generated by EDP Centre)

Non-moving items should be disposed of by circulating the list of items among the consuming depots over the home railway and to other railways. If material is not required by other Depots/ Railways, these items are to be made available to survey committee for inspection and to declare them as dead surplus.

Out of 1825 non-moving items over 2 years of 32 depots, 639 items valued at Rs.1.23 crore were more than 3 years old and final action on these cases have not been taken by the Depots. In 502 cases, non-moving was due to the fact that material was not required by the consignee because of change of design and in 65 cases, stoppage of manufacturing of the items for which this material was required.

(Annexure XLIII)

5.9    “Out of Stock” Position

In the ideal Inventory Management system, there should be no “Out of Stock” position. “Out of Stock” Statement is prepared for the items having stock position less than 5 per cent of AAC in case of A category items. The out of stock target fixed by Railway Board for both Purchase and Workshop manufactured items on Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW was 5 per cent of the total stock items under Category 'A'.

5.9.1    A review of “Out of Stock” position of purchase items & Workshop Manufactured Items on Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW revealed that:

(i) (a)    “Out of Stock” position on Central, Northeast Frontier, South Central, South Eastern and Western Railways was always higher than the target (5 per cent) fixed by the Railway Board for purchase items.

(b)    “Out of Stock” position in respect of purchase items was 48 per cent on Northeast Frontier (1997-98), 36.61 per cent on Northern Railway (1996-97), 17.12 per cent on Central Railway (1999-2000) and 17.03 per cent on Southern Railway (1999-2000).

(ii) (a)    Out of Stock position on Central and Southern Railways was higher than the target fixed for workshop manufactured items.

(b)    In Central, Eastern, Southern and South Central Railways, “Out of Stock” position in respect of Workshop Manufacture items had gone upto 20.85 per cent, 21.25 per cent, 17 per cent and 27.01 per cent respectively.

(c)    The actual position of Out of Stock Workshop manufactured items ranged from 1.51 per cent (North Eastern in 1999-2000) to 27.01 per cent (South Central in 1998-99).

(Annexure XLIV)

5.9.2    Analysis of out of stock items

Test check of 373 ‘Out of Stock’ items for more than one year in 32 depots as on 31 March 2001 revealed that:

Out of these, demands were pending for 50 items (Central - 32, South Eastern - 18) since 1996, 44 items (Western Railway) since 1997, 40 items (North Eastern Railway--15, Northeast Frontier Railway- 17 and CLW - 8) since 1998, 7 items (Eastern Railway) since 1999 and 2 items (South Central Railway) since 2000.

(Annexure XLV)

Section VI

6.    Scrap Disposal Management

6.1    General

The stores items of different kinds which are no longer useful for the purpose for which they were obtained by the consuming departments on Railways are called "Scrap Items". Scrap materials are held at nominal value in the books. Regular sale of scrap material is a must not only to fetch the best price possible but also to avoid unnecessary accumulation, theft and pilferage.

Scrap can be divided into ordinary scrap and surplus scrap. Ordinary scrap are materials which can ordinarily be used in the Railway Workshop or for other Railway purposes. Surplus scrap is normally referred as dead surplus, which should be sold off to fetch the best price possible.

6.2    Survey

Scrap is sold either on 'As is where is' basis or collected in the scrap depot, and; then sold either by auction or tender sale. Before stores are scrapped, a Survey Committee is appointed to survey the lots and to make recommendations for scrapping. The auctions are normally conducted by an auctioneer appointed for this purpose on remuneration with reference to sale value obtained. During auction, if the highest bid is less than the reserve price, the bid is not accepted and the material in question is withdrawn from auction sale. Tenders are invited by the COS and the same procedure like in the case of purchase of materials is followed for inviting, opening & evaluation of tenders, functions of tender committee and approval of recommendations. In all other respects the sale procedure as in the case of auction sales is followed.

6.3    Disposal of Inactive Items

Items, which are not consumed in a depot for a period of more than 2 years, are treated as non-moving items. Items so identified are circulated by the depot concerned to other depots of the same Zonal Railway as well as to other Railways so that the material can be utilised by other depots/ Railways. After getting response from all the Railways to the effect that material is not required by any Railway, Survey Board declares the material as dead surplus or scrap.

A test check of 541 non-moving items pending for more than three years prior to 1998-99 in 32 depots on Zonal Railways and CLW revealed that:

  1. Out of 541 items, 455 items pertaining to 8 Zonal Railways (except North Eastern Railway), CLW and DLW were still lying un-disposed of as on 1 June 2001. The period for which inactive items had been awaiting disposal was upto 26 years on Northeast Frontier Railway, 23 years on DLW and 17 years on Western Railway.

  2. The time gap between material declared as non-moving and issue of circular to depots/ Railways was upto 23 years on Northeast Frontier Railway, 11 ½ years on Central Railway and 7 years on Southern Railway.

  3. In 3 Zonal Railways (Northern, North Eastern and South Eastern) and CLW, where material (86 items) was disposed of, the time taken before its disposal was upto 10 years on Northern Railway, 8 years on South Eastern Railway and 7 years on North Eastern Railway.

  4. In 102 cases, items declared as scrap, no material was disposed of as on 1 June 2001 even though the material was declared as scrap during the years 1998 to 2000 on Central - 36 cases, Northern - 6 cases, Northeast Frontier - 50 cases, Southern - 1 case, South Eastern - 3 cases and CLW - 6 cases.

This information was not available on Metro Railway.

(Annexure XLVI)

6.4    Delay in finalisation of Tenders and award of Contracts

A test check of 40 contracts awarded by COS for sale of scrap revealed that:

  1. There has been considerable delay in finalisation of tenders. There was delay of more than 11 months in one case (Central Railway), more than 10 months in one case (DLW), more than 2 months in six cases (North Eastern Railway - 2, CLW - 1, DLW - 2 and Metro Railway - 1) and more than one month in seven cases (Northern - 2, Southern - 4 and Western - 1).

  2. After finalisation of tenders by Tender Committee (TC), the delay in awarding contracts was 4 months in 5 cases (North Eastern Railway - 3, CLW - 1 and Metro Railway - 1), 2 months in 18 cases (Central Railway - 4, Northeast Frontier Railway- 2, Southern Railway- 5, CLW - 1, DLW - 5 and Metro Railway - 1) and one month in 4 cases (Northern Railway).

  3. In 9 cases, even though contract period was over, no Completion Reports were drawn (North Eastern - 2, Northeast Frontier - 2, Western - 1, CLW - 2 and Metro Railway -2).

6.5    Auction Process

During the review of scrap disposal in 18 depots/ wards on Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW for the years 1998-99 to 2000-01, it was noticed that:

  1. There was poor performance in quantity sold against quantity listed on Northern (9.82 per cent), Central (30.96 per cent), South Eastern (41.94 per cent) and Southern (50.06 per cent).

  2. A review of reasons for non disposal revealed that in 27824 bids (Central, Northern, Northeast Frontier, Southern, South Central, South Eastern, Western, CLW and DLW) the material was not sold because the bids were below the reserve price and in 49 bids (Central and South Central), the material was withdrawn from the auction sale due to non-receipt of Joint Inspection Report.

  3. In 11 depots on Central, Eastern, Northern, North Eastern, South Central, South Eastern, Western Railways and CLW, in 95 cases, material was not lifted within the delivery period and ground rent was not recovered.

(Annexure XLVII)

6.6    Deterioration of scrap not disposed of

A test check of 17 depots on Zonal Railways (except North Eastern), CLW, DLW and Metro Railway revealed that 102 lots remained un-disposed of even after 2 years of formation of lots for disposal as scrap as tabulated below:

Railways

No. of depots test checked

No. of lots not disposed of within a period of 2 years

Delay over and above 2 years by

1 Year

2 Years

3 Years

4 Years and above

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Central

4

4

-

2

1

1

Eastern

1

22

10

6

1

5

Northern

2

27

8

5

8

6

Northeast Frontier

2

2

Nil

1

Nil

1

Southern

1

2

1

-

-

1

South Central

1

3

3

-

-

-

South Eastern

1

9

3

3

Nil

3

Western

2

17

3

11

3

-

Metro

1

1

1

-

-

-

CLW

1

12

-

-

4

8

DLW

1

3

2

-

1

-

TOTAL

17

102

31

28

18

25

From the above table, it was further seen that out of 102 lots, delay over and above 2 years was 1 year in 31 lots, 2 years in 28 lots, 3 years in 18 lots and 4 years and above in 25 lots.

On Southern Railway, it was noticed that a quantity of 2480 MTs of foundry skullings including slag and clinkers had accumulated at foundry shop of Engineering Workshop/ Arakkonam (EWS/ AJJ). The arisings of skullings have not been disposed of since 1994.

During 1998-99, Survey committee inspected the above skullings and fixed the price at Rs.4310 per MT. A quantity of 600 MTs was proposed to be sold at the rate of Rs.900 per MT for a total value of Rs.0.054 crore to M/s Sri Abirami Steels/ Chennai. However, the delivery of the lot sold out was not effected due to intervention of Vigilance Department of Southern Railway. In order to ascertain the percentage of material composition, samples were also collected by the Vigilance.

Subsequently, no effective action has been taken to dispose of the above skullings at 11 locations scattered around the foundry shop. The value of the scrap works out to Rs.1.07 crore.

6.7    Targets for Disposal of Scrap

Railway Board fixes yearly targets of earnings on account of disposal of scrap for each of the Zonal Railways. The targets fixed by the Board and achieved on Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW are given in Annexure XLVIII. A review of disposal of scrap revealed that the targets fixed by Railway Board were not achieved in Eastern Railway (1996-97 to 1998-99), in Northern Railway (1996-97 to 1997-98), in North Eastern Railway (1996-97 and 1998-99), in South Central Railway (1996-97 and 2000-2001), in CLW (1996-97 to 1999-2000) and in DLW (1997-98 to 2000-2001).

A further review of performance in disposal of scrap with reference to paras 6.3 (Disposal of inactive items) and 6.6 (Deterioration of scrap not disposed of) on the Zonal Railways which had achieved the targets fixed for disposal of scrap during the period of review would indicate that merely fixing targets with reference to earning was not sufficient to ensure prompt declaration as dead surplus of non-moving/ inactive items and disposal of scrap lots formed for auction. It would be seen from the Annexure XLVIII that Central, Northeast Frontier, Southern and South Eastern Railways had almost achieved the targets for disposal of scrap in terms of earnings during the period of review but still had 367 inactive items (Central -101, Northeast Frontier-252, Southern-11 and South Eastern -3) awaiting disposal for a period ranging 9 to 26 years. Further, it would be seen from the table in para 6.6 that 17 lots of scrap (Central-4, Northeast Frontier-2, Southern-2 and South Eastern -9) remained undisposed of even after a period of 3 to 6 years of their formation for auction.

Section VII

7.    Stores Accounting

7.1    General

The materials are purchased from trade or manufactured in the workshop or returned from Division/Works. Similarly, the materials are issued to various indentors in the Divisions chargeable to revenue/works and issued to workshops for repairs & maintenance or for manufacturing activities or surplus stores, scrap are sold to outsiders. To enable correct and timely accounting of stores received and issued, efficient accounting procedure is required to be employed of payments for materials received, credits to workshops/ works etc. and also debits against the Divisions.

7.2    Present System

After the physical transaction has taken place in the ward, the vouchers are assigned a serial number and forwarded to EDP centre for data entry on computer, updating the balances and Book Average Rate (BAR). Various MIS reports are also generated through the system.

7.3    Purchase-Suspense (Indigenous)

7.3.1    The link between purchase of material and their accounting in the depot is watched through this suspense head. Debit balances indicate advance payments made and materials not received, materials not connected properly due to delay in preparation of ROs or incorrect PL nos etc. Credit balances indicate unconnected ROs, recoveries from bills etc.

The increasing debit and credit balances reflect adversely on efficiency of a depot in particular and Railways as a whole.

A review by Audit of these balances for five years (1996-97 to 2000-2001) of Zonal Railways, Metro Railway, CLW and DLW as indicated in Annexure XLIX revealed as under:

(A)    Debit Balances

Overall debit balance of Rs.570.53 crore as on 31 March 1997 increased to Rs.721.47 crore as on 31 March 2001 registering an increase of 26.46 per cent over the period of review. The Railway wise position revealed that:

  • The debit balance registered a significant increase on Northern Railway (Rs.152.49 crore to Rs.188.28 crore), North Eastern Railway (Rs.27.33 crore to Rs.37.89 crore), South Central Railway (Rs.3.57 crore to Rs.55.76 crore) and South Eastern Railway (Rs.99.99 crore to Rs.220.01 crore).

  • On Central, Northern, North Eastern, South Central, South Eastern, Western Railways and CLW, the debit balances were very high on 31 March 2001.

Age-wise analysis of more than 1 year old cases of debit balances under Purchase Suspense (Indigenous) as on 31st March 2001 is shown in the table below:

(Rs. in crore)

Sl. No.

Railway

Prior to 1 April 1994

1 April 1994 to 31 March 1996

1 April 1996 to 31 March 2001

Total

Items

Value

Items

Value

Items

Value

Items

Value

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

1

Central

289

1.95

465

1.76

6647

21.11

7401

24.82

2

Eastern

-

-

-

-

239

1.86

239

1.86

3

Northern

-

-

-

-

359

0.16

359

0.16

4

North Eastern

642

3.50

603

3.79

1674

12.91

2919

20.2

5

Northeast Frontier

-

-

-

-

63

0.03

63

0.03

6

Southern

100

0.31

260

0.15

506

1.06

866

1.52

7

South Central

-

-

-

-

485

48.02

485

48.02

8

South Eastern

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

2979

59.06

2979

59.06

9

Western

896

3.77

495

5.80

1522

8.70

2913

18.27

10

CLW

29

6.27

257

1.00

1990

19.00

2276

20.27

11

DLW

-

-

-

-

479

1.50

479

1.50

TOTAL

1956

15.80

2080

12.50

16943

173.41

20979

195.71

From the above table, it would be seen that as on 31 March 2001, 20979 items valued at Rs.195.71 crore in respect of which advance payment had been made, were outstanding for more than a period of one year. It was further seen that out of these, 1956 items valued at Rs.15.80 crore pertained to the period prior to 1994-95 (more than 7 years old), 2080 items valued at Rs.12.50 crore pertained to the period 1994-95 to 1995-96 (5/6 years old) and balance 16943 items valued at Rs.173.41 crore pertained to the period 1996-97 to March 2000.

(B)    Credit Balances

  1. Overall credit balance of Rs.513.78 crore on 31 March 1997 increased by 45.59 per cent to Rs.747.99 crore on 31 March 2001.

  2. Railway wise position disclosed that:

  3. On Central Railway, there was consistent increase in credit balance items on 31 March 1997 to 31 March 2000.

  4. On Northern Railway credit balances registered a consistent increase over the previous balances on 31 March each year during 1997 to 2000. Credit balance of Rs.110.69 crore on 31 March 1997 increased by 220.84 per cent to Rs.355.14 crore on 31 March 2000 (Annexure XLIX).

7.3.2    Advance Payment for Purchases

Normally 100 per cent payment is made to the supplier after receipt and acceptance of the material by the consignee. However 90/95/98 per cent advance payment can be granted to the supplier by the competent authority on the proof of dispatch and inspection certificate issued by the nominated inspecting agency as specified in the contract and balance payment on receipt and acceptance of the material by consignee.

The position of debit balances outstanding against Advance Payment for indigenous purchases under Suspense head “Purchase - Indigenous” of Zonal Railways and CLW shows that:

  • Cases of advance payment outstanding/ awaiting receipt of material for a period of more than one year of date of payment were very high at the end of each of financial year during 1996-97 to 2000-2001 on Central, South Central, South Eastern and Western Railways.

  • It ranged from 29.75 per cent to 44.73 per cent on Central Railway, 39 per cent to 71 per cent on South Central Railway, 9.87 per cent to 92.22 per cent on South Eastern Railway, 26.33 per cent to 40.74 per cent on Western Railway and 21 per cent to 80 per cent on CLW.

  • Overall 80.25 per cent to 93.95 per cent of total advance payment was locked up for a period of over one year.

The position as brought out above indicates lack of chasing the cases for delivery of material for which advance had already been made.

This information was not made available on Northern and North Eastern Railways. It was partly available on Southern Railway.

(Annexure L)

7.3.3    The analysis of Purchase Items (Indigenous) which were not received by the consignees for a period of more than one year as on 31 March 2001 from the dates the materials were stated to have been despatched is shown in Annexure LI.

From the annexure, it would be seen that on Central, Northern, Southern, Western and CLW, 8395 items (except Western Railway) valued at Rs.38.57 crore (including western Railway) were not received by the consignees for a period of over one year as on 31 March 2001, of which 94 cases involving Rs.2.05 crore, the material was either lost or damaged in transit and in respect of 334 cases valued at Rs.5.82 crore, the amount was recoverable from parties on account of rejected stores.

7.3.4    A review of statement showing debit balances under Purchase Suspense as on 31 March 2001 disclosed that:

  1. 765 cases each valuing Rs.5 lakh or more involving a total value of Rs.41.18 crore were outstanding on Central - 121 (Rs.14.90 crore), Northeast Fronteir - 7 (Rs.0.53 crore), Southern - 3 (Rs.0.33 crore), South Central - 62 (Rs.8.86 crore), Western - 80 (Rs.9.73 crore) and CLW - 492 (Rs.6.83 crore).

  2. 1154 cases each valuing upto Rs.5 lakhs involving a total value of Rs.16.79 crore were outstanding on Central - 219 (Rs.3.91 crore), Northeast Frontier - 17 (Rs.1.09 crore), Southern - 13 (Rs.0.28 crore), South Central - 171 (Rs.3.88 crore), Western - 108 (Rs.2.53 crore) and CLW - 3 (Rs.0.04 crore), DLW - 623 (Rs.5.06 crore).

  3. In 20 cases on Central Railway, Purchase Order numbers were shown as zeros and in 2 cases Purchase Order numbers were invalid.

On Eastern, Northern, North Eastern and South Eastern Railways, this information was not available (Annexure LII).

7.4    Purchase Suspense (Imported)

7.4.1    This suspense head is akin to the Purchase Suspense (Indigenous) head and this head records all the transaction in respect of Imported Material. The position of balances outstanding under Purchase Suspense (Imported) head of Central Railway shows that:

(A)    Debit Balance

  1. The debit balance of Purchase Suspense (Imported) on Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW showed a consistent increase during 1997-98 to 1999-2000. It was Rs.28.18 crore on 31 March 1997, Rs.31.03 crores on 31 March 1998, Rs.60.93 crore on 31 March 1999 (an increase of 10.11 per cent and 96.36 per cent respectively over the previous year) and Rs.62.66 crore on 31 March 2000.

  2. Railway wise analysis disclosed an alarming position on Northern Railway (total balance of Rs.17.11 crore on 31 March 1997 increased to Rs.62.66 crore on 31 March 2001 - 266.22 per cent increase), South Central Railway (Rs.1.83 crore on 31 March 1997 increased to Rs.13.57 crore on 31 March 2001 - 641.50 per cent increase) and Western Railway (Rs.2.20 crore on 31 March 1997 increased to Rs.7.37 crore on 31 March 2001 - 235 per cent increase).

(Annexure LIII)

Age-wise analysis of more than 1 year old cases of debit balances under purchase imported as on 31st March 2001 is as under:

(Rs. in crore)

Sl. No.

Railway

Prior to 1994-95

1994-95 to 1995-96

1996-97 to March 2000

Total

Items

Value

Items

Value

Items

Value

Items

Value

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

1

Central

-

-

-

-

1

0.03

1

0.03

2

Eastern

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

3

Northern

2

0.05

34

0.54

53

1.18

89

1.77

4

North Eastern

7

0.27

3

0.10

11

0.97

21

1.34

5

Northeast Frontier

-

-

-

-

28

1.20

28

1.20

6

Southern

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

7

South Central

-

-

-

-

84

7.07

84

7.07

8

South Eastern

N.A.

N.A.

7

0.51

61

5.63

68

6.14

9

Western

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

10

CLW

2

0.03

8

0.90

37

3.78

47

4.71

11

DLW

-

-

-

-

39

0.42

39

0.42

12

Metro

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

NIL

TOTAL

11

0.35

52

2.05

314

20.28

377

22.68

From the table above, it would be seen that as on 31 March 2001, 377 items valued at Rs.22.68 crore in respect of which advance payment had been made, were outstanding for more than a period of one year. It was further seen that of these, 11 items valued at Rs.0.35 crore pertained to the period prior to 1994-95, 52 items valued at Rs.2.05 crore pertained to the period 1994-95 to 1995-96 and balance 314 items valued at Rs.20.28 crore pertained to the period 1996-97 to March 2000.

(B)    Credit Balance

(i) Overall credit balance of Purchase Suspense (Imported) on Zonal Railways, CLW and DLW also registered a consistent increase each year over the preceding years during 1997-98 to 1999-2000. It was Rs.23.54 crore on 31 March 1997 and Rs.47.28 crore on 31 March 2000 registering an increase of 100.85 per cent (Annexure LIII).

7.5    Stores in Transit (Purchase)

The balance in this suspense head depicts the value of materials not accounted for by the stocking depots.

A review of the above suspense head revealed that debit balance of Rs.24.06 crore which was lying un-accounted for on 31 March 1997 increased to Rs.36.33 crore as on 31 March 2001 (an increase of 51 per cent) on Central, Eastern, Northeast Frontier, Western Railways and CLW.

Out of the balance shown on 31 March 1997 and 31 March 2001, the debit balance on Eastern Railway alone accounted for 91 per cent and 87 per cent respectively (Annexure LIV).

7.6    Risk Purchase Suspense

Balance under this head indicates recoverable amount from the defaulting firms for the difference between risk purchase rate and contract rate of the defaulting contractor.

A review of outstanding balances under Risk Purchase Suspense revealed that an amount of Rs.6.97 crore against 3829 cases (except South Eastern Railway) on account of Risk Purchase cost was outstanding for more than a period of one year as on 31 March 2001 on Central, Eastern, North Eastern, South Central, South Eastern and Western Railways.

This information was not available on Northern Railway.

(Annexure LV)

Section VIII

8.    Stock Taking

8.1    General

Stock verification is an important managerial exercise to ensure proper and safe store keeping. In Railways, the COS & FA&CAO have to certify the Annual Statement of Stores Transactions that the value balances truly reflect the ground balances.

This is achieved by actual physical verification, quantitative and qualitative verification of vouchers, store accounts, comments on the state of storage, deterioration of stock due to bad storage etc.

8.2    Stock Verification

The ISA chalks out the programme as per the frequency contemplated under para 3202-S, which is as follows:

'A' value Items

Once in six months

'B' value Items

Once in a year

'C' value Items

Once in two years

Items that have no issue for 12 months and over

Once in a year

All Tools & Plant Items

Once in 36 months

All Imprest Stores

Once in 24 months

Machinery and plant

Once in 3 years

8.3    Stock Verification Programme

The ISA chalks out the programme as per the frequency contemplated in para 3202-S and is responsible for the efficiency of the scrutiny of accounts, inspection of Receipt Section and speedy verification of stores and the programme is approved by the FA&CAO. Under orders of SAO, ISA undertakes special and important verifications and carries out test check of stock verifier's work. Shortcomings noticed during verification are taken up with the management through Stock sheets i.e., narrative reports and special reports. Stock sheets are supposed to be cleared within three months of receipt. The disposal is watched at Head of Department levels.

A review by Audit of Stock Verification Programmes as sanctioned by Railway Administrations and actually carried out in depots during 1999-2000 to 2000-2001 revealed that in 5 depots, Northern Railway (Shakurbasti and Alambagh), North Eastern Railway (Samastipur depot), South Eastern Railway (Scrap Yard, Kharagpur), there was shortfall between 1 to 40.58 per cent in carrying out the sanctioned programme as indicated in the following table:

Railway

Name of depots

No. of programmes
approved

No. of Programmes 
actually carried out

Shortfall

Percentage 
of shortfall

1

2

3

4

5

6

Northern

Shakurbasti

6260

6197

63

1.01

 

Alambagh

6765

6530

235

3.47

North Eastern

Samastipur depot.

47140

35180

11960

25.37

South Eastern

Scrap Yard, Khargpur

483

287

196

40.58

Metro

Noapara

7608

7127

481

6.32

8.4    Position of outstanding SV Sheets

The year-wise breakup of outstanding stock verification sheets as on 31 March 2001 in respect of Zonal Railways, CLW, DLW and Metro Railway is given in Annexure LVI. It would be seen from the annxure that on Zonal Railways, CLW, DLW and Metro Railway, the number of outstanding verification sheets increased consistently during 1998-99 to 2000-2001.

The overall increase during 1997-98 to 2000-2001 was 79.95 per cent. Of the total outstanding stock verification sheets every year during 1996-97 to 2000-2001, the outstanding stock verification sheets on Eastern Railway constituted 87.68 per cent, 87.43 per cent, 77.82 per cent, 68.39 per cent and 52.70 per cent respectively.

8.5    Departmental Stock verification

8.5.1    As an important check on the correct receipt and issue of stores by the wards, the department itself is expected to check whether up-to-date balance of an item in the ledger agrees with the actual physical stock balance. Such departmental verification arranged by the depot officer is in addition to the stock verification arranged by the Accounts Department.

The departmental verification cover selected items, such as items of large annual consumption having regular and frequent issues, items having intrinsic value like Non-Ferrous items, tool steel etc., and pilferable items. A list of such selective items to the extent of 25 percent of total items stocked should be drawn up and approved by COS. The verification of physical balances should be done by an official other than the custodian of the stores. The Depot Officer may waive verification in exceptional cases. A list of such items waived by Depot Officer should be sent to SAO through COS every year.

A review of departmental stock verification on Zonal Railways, Metro, CLW and DLW revealed that:

  1. In all 32 selected depots on Zonal Railways, Metro, CLW and DLW, there was no departmental stock verification programme /list prepared.

  2. No departmental stock verification was done on Eastern, Southern, Western Railways, CLW, DLW and Metro Railway. In Central, Northern, North Eastern, Northeast Frontier and South Eastern Railways, departmental stock verification was done, but there was severe short fall in compliance of the prescribed verification of 25 per cent of total items. The shortfall was large on Central and South Eastern Railways where against 4710 and 4700 items due for verification, stock verification was done in respect of only 65 and 638 items respectively.

  3. On South Central Railway, this information was not available.

(Annexure LVII)

8.5.2    Irregular preparation of Departmental Verification Sheets (DVSs)

DVSs are required to be prepared when excess or deficient stock is noticed during the course of Departmental Stock Verification to adjust difference in ground balance and stock as per Bin Card. A review of the DVSs issued during 1998-99 to 2000-2001 revealed that in 376 cases, the DVSs were prepared not on account of discrepancies noticed during Departmental Stock Verification but as a result of irregular practice of issuing material directly from Receipt Section. An analysis of 353 cases (except South Eastern Railway) out of 376 DVSs revealed that:

  1. There were 5 (Central - 4 and Northeast Frontier - 1) unconnected receipts for the material received under purchase order placed by Railway Board but the same were not posted in the Transaction Register(TR) on time because of incomplete PO. Hence, the items were kept under Purchase Suspense since purchase in June 1999 (Central Railway) and May 2000 (Northeast Frontier Railway).

  2. In 305 cases, DVSs were prepared in 1998-99 to 2000-01 for issues made directly by Receipt Section of material available in receipt section for which receipt orders had not yet been prepared. These DVSs were required to be reversed after accounting of receipt orders. No reverse DVSs were, however, prepared till March 2001.

  3. In 48 cases, DVSs were prepared in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 and the same were reversed in subsequent years.

The above information was not available in respect of 23 DVS on South Eastern Railway.

(Annexure LVIII)

Section IX

9.    Computerisation

9.1    In January 1984, a comprehensive Material Management Information System (MMIS) for better Inventory Control and Stores Purchase was designed by the System Development Group (SDG), Central Railway, which were to be implemented by all zonal Railways. Envisaged 7 Modules are briefly described below.

(a) Module I:- This module covers processing of vouchers, generating Priced Ledgers, Class Ledgers and various exception reports.

(b) Module II:- This module is divided into 4 sub-systems i.e. Purchase processing. Demand Generation, Forecasting and Generation of various Exception Reports for assisting Purchase Officers, Stores Accounts Officers and Depot Officers to discharge their functions in a better manner.

(c) Module III:- This module is planned to cover monitoring of activities of Receipt Section in the depots. As such this module mainly concerns generation of various performance reports of receipt Section.

(d) Module IV:-The activities covered in this module are sale of Railway materials conducted through the Office of the Controller of Stores. Disposal would be tracked right from formation of lots till they are finally delivered.

(e) Module V:- This covers generation of various suspense registers and liability registers and periodical updating of the same.

(f) Module VI:- This Module covers Vendor Evaluation. A part of this evaluation would be done at the point of closure of each P.O. received from the Float Order File. Annual evaluation of the Vendors would be done against all Orders secured/completed by the Vendor in the fiscal year.

(g) Module VII:- The activities covered in this module are Tender Processing; from the point of receipt of demands in the purchase Section to coverage of demands by Purchase Orders and generation of various reports for adjudging the performance of Purchase Section in pre-tender stage.

A review by Audit of implementation of the above mentioned modules revealed that:

  1. 5 out of 7 modules were developed by SDG Central Railway by 1990. Modules IV and VII were not developed. However, Module III and Module VI are not in use at present in any of the Zonal Railways.

  2. This MMIS Application software is not in use in North Eastern and Southern Railways. Southern Railway is using a locally developed application.

  3. On South Central Railway Modules I & II have been under partial implementation after some suitable modification since June 1988. Key components of Module II such as those relating to Demand Generation and PO processing have not been implemented. Since both the modules were inter linked, incomplete utilisation of one module invariably affects the reports generated from the other module. The Suspense computerisation package developed locally by Accounts is in use in place of Module V.

9.2    The following deficiencies were noted in audit in the MMIS package which in turn reduce the effectiveness of the Railway Administration for better stores management.

  1. In the MIS report of ‘Stores In Transit (DT)’, 18 depot transfer cases for PL numbers of other depots were shown against the selected depots which were not dealing with those PL Nos. on 4 Railways (Central - 5, Northeast Frontier - 2, South Eastern - 9 and Western - 2).

  2. The PL No. Master files of 6 out of 9 Zonal Railways contained 655 PL items (Central - 361, Northern - 147, Northeast Frontier - 89, South Central - 10, South Eastern - 18 and Western - 30) where no description was available.

  3. On 6 out of 9 Zonal Railways, out of 86 Estimate sheets test checked, in 80 cases (Central - 10, Eastern - 4, Northern - 15, south Central - 6, South Eastern - 35 and Western - 10), the details shown in the computer generated Estimate Sheets (ES) had to be changed manually by the depot staff before forwarding the same to COS office, as the estimate sheet was not correctly generated. This is mainly due to the system not taking into account the out of stock periods and depot transfer quantities of an item for calculating AAC. This resulted in wrong estimation.

  4. Purchase Order No, PL No, Depot Code and Railway Receipt Numbers are the key fields for matching the entries of Receipt Orders with purchase orders. If there is a mismatch in any key field, the whole record becomes invalid resulting ultimately in increase in purchase suspense balance. Test check of MIS reports of Purchase suspense balance outstanding revealed that,

(a)    95 records had invalid/incorrect Vendor Codes.

(b)    41 records had invalid/incorrect PO nos. with last 5 digits as zeroes or the entire PO no. with zeroes.

(c)    338 records had invalid/incorrect Receipt Note nos.

(d)    169 records had invalid/incorrect RR nos.

(e)    113 records show quantity as 'zero' and value column with figures.

9.3    New MMIS

9.3.1    Railway Board decided in September 1997 to form a Systems Development Team on Central Railway to develop new MMIS applications on an on-line environment making use of an RDBMS (Oracle PL/SQL as back-end and Developer 2000 as front-end) and new hardware systems. Once the system is fully implemented on Central Railway, it will be transferred to other Zonal Railways.

9.3.2    So far expenditure incurred on Hardware & System software was Rs.1.36 crores and Rs. 0.34 crore for Application software. The project which was to be implemented by December 1999, has not yet been fully implemented and has been delayed by more than 21 months (October 2001).