Arun Varman is a hotel manager from Mumbai who scrimped and saved for a decade to try to make his dream of buying a flat in the suburbs a reality.
But now he is not sure that will ever happen. "I had hoped a deposit of 2 lakh [Dh14,695] would have been enough to buy a two-bedroom place but if house prices rise more than 20 per cent, I will not be able to afford to buy a place at all."
His fears may not unfounded. Many first-time buyers will face difficulties in getting their feet on the property ladder if the country's land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement bill becomes law say some commentators, who fear it will cause house prices to soar.
At the heart of the bill is a compensation package, the central aim of which is to protect landowners who could become displaced as India's emerging economy moves to modernise by creating new towns, cities and roads.
Landowners subject to compulsory purchases by the government would be entitled to a new house, relocation costs, employment for one family member, 2,000 rupees per month for 20 years and 20 per cent of capital gains, every time the land is sold within 10 years.
Plus their land will be be compulsorarily purchased at a premium, twice the market rate for urban areas and at least four times the market rate in the countryside.
However, private deals between willing parties will also be subject to the compensation package. Any private developer wishing to buy 50 acres of urban land or 100 acres of rural land from a willing seller will also have cover the cost of the 'rehabilitation and resettlement' package.
The Indian government hopes this new, more transparent bill - which replaces the current law drawn up by the British more than 100 year ago - will give landowners a fairer deal, whether they want to sell or not.
But some in the real estate sector warn it will have a dramatic effect on housing market, with higher costs deterring developers from building affordable housing.
Pankaj Bajaj, the president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India, said there is aready a shortage of urban land for large housing projects, the mainstay of new buyers and young families, he says.
"It [the bill] will lead to a drastic dwindling of the supply of urbanisable land," Mr Bajaj says. "The rehabilitation and resettlement benefits, which suggest giving 20 per cent of the developed land back to the landowner, will increase the cost of land needed for township projects by as much as 60 per cent, taking housing out of the affordability range of middle-class buyers."
A report by the investment bank Nomura backs Mr Bajaj's argument. "Under the proposed set of rehabilitation and resettlement guidelines, the developers' cost of acquiring land greater than 100 acres [40 hectares] is likely to increase by 25 to 35 per cent, depending on current costs," the report says.
It's not just new buyers who are jittery, existing home owners fear price increases too.
Deepali Joshi has a young family in the leafy suburb of Khar in Mumbai. Her husband runs an exporting business and the family had hoped to move into a bigger home because their current apartment is too cramped. but a drastic change in the market could put their next step up out of reach.
"Look at the prices - everything is going up. Soon only the very rich can afford to live here, and we have to move and up sticks to be able to afford to live," she says.
The Joshis are not alone. Critics say the legislation will widen the gap between the rich and poor. "The land price hike will result either in super premium housing for the rich or unauthorised slum housing for those who can not afford to buy," says Mr Bajaj.
"The recent transactions in acquiring land for projects are a fair representation of the correct market price, as they have been determined by free market forces without any statutory or exploitative pressure," says Mr Bajaj. "The new rules will make land assembly for urbanisation impossible as all landowners will hold on to their lands in the hope of getting double the market price at a later date."
It is easy to see why politicians have been forced to look at the issue of land deals. According to the latest census figures more than 50 per cent of the country's population - or about 600 million people - get their livelihood from the land and the government has come under pressure to protect their rights amid the moves to expand the economy,
By doing so officials also hope that they can in fact boost agricultural output, stemming a tide of falling production figures. The contribution of agriculture to the economy's GDP has been steadily dropping since the 1950s. Today about 18.5 per cent of India's GDP is derived from the agriculture sector which is disorganised and impoverished.
Harsh Mander, a member of the National Advisory Council and a key member of the team who drafted the proposal, says the time is right for farmers to get a better deal.
"The original, ancient law was without any interest for the landowners," he says. "It is time to make the issue more transparent and prevent the devastation of the land and stop impoverishing the landowners because undervalued sales deals have been going on for too long.
"India is a democratic country, and we should do things openly."
However, industry observers fear the bill saying it could hurt corporate growth. To build factories and production facilities, India currently utilises only 3 to 4 per cent of all land, but to facilitate growth targets, industry estimates put the need at about 15 per cent. But the new bill, businesses say, will mean buying land will become too costly and as a result the country's long-term economic growth could be jeopardised because the manufacturing sector will be hit by costlier land deals.
"How can the country's largely young population get employed unless manufacturing contributes considerably more to the economy? There are 13 million new entrants to the workforce annually which need to be placed by the manufacturing sector, says Rajiv Kumar from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
"The service sector alone cannot facilitate this amount of people."
Developers fear the bill will increase the threat of litigation as a lack of legal documents establishing ownership is a major hurdle and constitutes a potential source of friction. For instance the proposed construction of Navi Mumbai international airport has ground to a halt because of landowners demanding higher compensation. And a Tata Motors battle in Singur, West Bengal, over land acquisition issues has been drawn out in the courts for years.
For highway developers,land acquisition is a major concern and some fear the proposed legislation will delay projects. The bill has proposed a blanket ban on the acquisition of arable land where a variety of crops can be grown together. But many say such a rule is impractical, especially in the north of India where much of the land falls into this category.
"All lands in these cities are multi-cropped and these are also the cities with the highest trends of urbanisation and population growth," says Mr Kumar. "These trends cannot be contained by imposing a ban. Cities are engines of economic growth and urbanisation cannot be banned."