Hindustan Aeronautics started to design an agricultural aircraft in 1968 designated the HAL-31 Mk 1 with a cockpit directly over the wing leading edge. It was re-designed as the HA-31 Mk II Basant and first flew on the 30 March 1972. The Basant is a conventional braced low-wing monoplane with a fixed tailwheel landing gear and powered by a 400 hp (298 kW) Avco Lycoming IO-720 piston engine. It had a raised cockpit to give the pilot a good all-round view during spraying operations. Production ended in 1980 after 39 aircraft had been built.